Posts from our progressive community

The Path of Self-Destruction. Consumerism.

The Disaffected Lib - 4 hours 7 min ago
We, mankind, have to change our ways or else perish.  It's that cut and dried. We're confronted with a number of existential threats.  Our continued existence is imperiled by three main factors - climate change, overpopulation and over-consumption.

We are living well outside the limits of our survivability.  We have passed the threshhold of sustainability and crossed over into the perilous realm of survivability.

Our consumptive habits endanger us every bit as much as the future ravages of climate change.  While we are just one of millions of life forms that share this planet, we, mankind, already consume more than 1.5 times the supply of our planet's renewable resources.

When we're taking 150% of our planet's resource carrying capacity what does that leave for all those other life forms?  Precious little which is a main reason why we have lost half the life on our planet over just the last 30-years.  That revelation came and went and was flushed straight down the news hole by week's end.  For most of us it's all but forgotten already.

Not only are we devouring 150% of our planet's resource carrying capacity but we're dependent on it.  Mankind has grown mortally dependent on something that simply doesn't exist and never will.  We have been deluding ourselves by conjuring tricks, by having at our planet's dwindling reserves.  We've been clearing our forests, draining our aquifers, exhausting our farmland and wiping out our fisheries - all to keep production and consumption at what have become unsurvivable levels.  This does not end well.

This came to mind as I read report today about a German government study on our electronics buying habits.  The study found that the usable life span of electronics products is getting shorter.

The environment agency asked Öko-Institut researchers to examine consumers’ reasons for replacing electrical and electronic appliances with a view to establishing whether manufacturers are purposefully shortening product life spans to prop up sales, a phenomenon known as built-in obsolescence.

The researchers did not draw a firm conclusion on built-in obsolescence but noted that the proportion of all units sold to replace a defective appliance grew from 3.5% in 2004 to 8.3% in 2012, in what they deemed a “remarkable” increase.

And the share of large household appliances that had to be replaced within the first five years of use grew from 7% of total replacements in 2004 to 13% in 2013. This too was largely due to an increase in the proportion of recently purchased appliances replaced following a defect, which may point to an obsolescence problem.

However consumer preference is also playing a role. A third of all replacement purchases for products such as refrigerators and washing machines were motivated by a desire for a better unit while the old one was still functioning.

Consumers are also increasingly keen to swap their flat screen televisions for better versions with larger screens and better picture quality, even though more than 60% of replaced televisions were still functioning in 2012.

Policymakers are increasingly concerned about inefficient use of resources in resource-poor Europe, and about the environmental impact of this. The EU is looking to regulate product resource efficiency by including new standards such as durability and repairability in requirements under the Ecodesign Directive, a law that is currently focused on energy efficiency for the most part.

An integral element in the school of Steady State economics is the regulation, rationing if you like, of access to resources.  Instead of resources going to the highest bidder, resources would be allocated according to the utility and enjoyment of the product to be manufactured.  The longevity of service life and the ability to upgrade the product would be critical. The idea, for example, envisions home computers that would last at least five, six or more times longer than the junk that amasses at our recycling yards today.

Growth, the misunderstood curse of our modern life, would likewise be transformed.  Instead of growth in production and consumption, growth would focus on knowledge and development needed to make life more comfortable and enjoyable.

A third element of Steady State economics is population stability by which birth rates are kept in line with death rates and overall population levels well within the planet's carrying capacity with regard to all the other life forms essential to maintaining all and any life on Earth.

Yet as this German study reveals we're still heading in the wrong direction along the unsurvivable path.  This begs the question whether we'll come to our senses in time.

Illegal botox seized in Vancouver

Terahertz - 5 hours 50 min ago

Last month, an undercover CBC investigation exposed that a number of spas and health clinicas around Metro Vancouver were offering botox injections illegally. Botox in Canada can only be administered by a physician and these clinics didn’t have any doctors on staff.

Today, Health Canada announced that it has seized unlabeled botox jars from Art Nails, a Vancouver spa.

The store owner claimed the product was Botox that had been administered to consumers. Potential risks associated with injecting an unauthorized version of a health product such as Botox, can range from mild local paralysis to death.

While the shop remains open, and none of the shops mentioned in the CBC exposé have been closed, it’s good to see Health Canada intervene.

And Speaking Of Profound Stupidity

Politics and its Discontents - 7 hours 34 min ago
...not to mention rabid partisanship, watch another Harper MP disgrace herself:

I wonder how well any of this sits with Cheryl Gallant's riding of Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke. Don't those constituents, like the ones living in James Lunney's riding, deserve better?Recommend this Post

Finally - My MP Makes the CBC

The Disaffected Lib - 8 hours 43 min ago
After 15 very idle years, and mere months before his retirement, my MP, the Conservative member for Nanaimo-Alberni, Doctor (no less) James Lunney has caught the interest of the CBC.

So what great achievement has brought the former chiropractor to the notice of CBC?  You could put it down to his Christian fundmentalism.  Lunney doesn't believe in climate change.  Only God can change the climate.  He doesn't believe in evolution either, although he says he's prepared to acknowledge it as a "theory."  Oh yeah, he also doesn't believe in vaccination.

Lunney dwells in the darkest recesses of the faith based, fundmentalist Right. This probably explains why with his own party in power for the bottom half of Lunney's political career and even with the incredible paucity of talent in Harper's caucus, Lunney has been left to languish as perhaps the most irrelevant of backbenchers.

Sometimes, while knocking back a brew with fellow constituents, I play a little bar game.  I first ask if they can name our sitting member of Parliament.  Most can get it right, eventually.  Then I ask them to recall the greatest contribution MP Lunney has made to our riding in his 15-year career in Parliament.  Name one thing, just one, for which he'll be remembered. The answer is always the same - a blank stare.

I can't imagine how this joker has held the riding since 2000 but for the loyal support of his fellow Christian fundies and all those rightwing peckerheads from the Prairies who continue to retire here.  Oh that and a low voter turnout.

James Lunney makes it embarrassing to admit you're from his riding.  At least most of the other ridings on the island go NDP.  Unfortunately, when it comes to Nanaimo-Alberni, the Conservatives have demonstrated conclusively that they can get a candidate straight out of the Dark Ages elected again and again.

I Feel Your Pain. More Than I Can Say for the CBC.

The Disaffected Lib - 9 hours 58 min ago
Oh Mother Corp can be cold, especially when it comes to the cold.  The tag line on the CBC web page read, "Warm Weather for Everyone! (Offer only available in BC.)"

The report links to a Weather Network outlook that sees an early spring for British Columbia (it's already here) but "freeze your butt off" conditions for the rest of Canada through the month of March and perhaps beyond.

Normal temperatures will start returning around mid-April.  Here's what Spring 2015 looks like to the Weather Network:

Cold Comfort

Dawg's Blawg - 11 hours 48 min ago
In the domain of animal weather prediction, groundhogs have certainly grabbed the spotlight thanks to canny marketing (and Bill Murray). But we also turn to other species for forecasting, as exemplified in the proverbial prognostication: “If March comes in... Balbulican

Could It Be A Virus?

Politics and its Discontents - 12 hours 9 min ago

Stupidity, it has been said, is contagious, and one has to wonder whether a particularly virulent virus is running through the Conservative tent these days. First there was Ontario Progressive Conservative MPP Rick Nicholls suggesting that evolution shouldn't be taught in schools, as he doesn't believe in it. Now comes word of similar sentiments on the part of one of his federal cousins, B.C. Conservative MP James Lunney.

Coming to the defense of his fellow fundamentalist, Lunney tweeted:
"[Just] stop calling #evolution fact!" tweeted Lunney, who said he had no problem calling it a "theory."A man clearly comfortable in his own skin and not afraid to parade his profound ignorance, Lunney made this statement to the House in 2009:
"Any scientist who declares that the theory of evolution is a fact has already abandoned the foundations of science. For science establishes fact through the study of things observable and reproducible. Since origins can neither be reproduced nor observed, they remain the realm of hypothesis," he said then.

"The evolutionist may disagree, but neither can produce Darwin as a witness to prove his point. The evolutionist may genuinely see his ancestor in a monkey, but many modern scientists interpret the same evidence in favour of creation and a Creator."
Like many of his benighted ilk, Lunney is also deeply suspicious of claims made about climate change:
Last year he tweeted "Science settled? Think again!" and posted a link to an article by a University of Guelph economist who is one of the signatories of a declaration disputing climate change.But wait! As they say, there's more!

As reported last year in The Huffington Post, Linney signed An Evangelical Declaration on Global Warming:
"We believe Earth and its ecosystems—created by God’s intelligent design and infinite power and sustained by His faithful providence —are robust, resilient, self-regulating, and self-correcting, admirably suited for human flourishing, and displaying His glory. Earth’s climate system is no exception. Recent global warming is one of many natural cycles of warming and cooling in geologic history."The declaration went on to say,
We deny that carbon dioxide—essential to all plant growth—is a pollutant. Reducing greenhouse gases cannot achieve significant reductions in future global temperatures, and the costs of the policies would far exceed the benefits."Oh, and one more thing. Lunney's disdain for science extends to vaccines with this discredited notion:
In a 2004 speech in the House of Commons, Lunney cited figures he said showed a tenfold increase in the incidence of autism and said Canada should explore a link to vaccines.It is said that people get the government they deserve. Somehow, I can't help but think that the residents of Nanaimo—Alberni deserve much, much better than what this man has to offer.Recommend this Post

Money Counts. People Don't.

Northern Reflections - 12 hours 31 min ago


The Harperites are always hell bent on going to war -- as long as someone else is willing to fight it. They are hoping to win the next election on the meme that they protect Canadians. But they don't do the protecting. Canada's veterans are tasked with that job. And Harper's treatment of veterans is appalling. Tasha Kheiriddin writes:

While terrorism is good business for the Tories, they continue to fail the people who fought it on the frontlines — Canada’s veterans.

Just last week, the case of former master corporal Paul Franklin, who lost both legs in Afghanistan, made news again for all the wrong reasons. Franklin’s defenders, including comedian Rick Mercer, tore Veterans Affairs Canada to shreds in early 2015 for demanding that the former soldier prove every year that his legs were still missing, to qualify for a government-funded wheelchair.

So Pierre Lemieux, parliamentary secretary to the Veterans Affairs minister, announced on February 27 a mindbogglingly insensitive change in policy: Franklin and similarly disabled vets will instead have to provide proof every three years that they are still disabled — that their missing limbs have not miraculously grown back. If they don’t, the federal government could, for example, repossess their wheelchairs — as it has done to Franklin twice in the past.
Governments take on the characteristics of their leaders. And so, the Harper government is Stephen Harper personified -- paranoid and devoid of people skills:

Also in the past week, the public learned that the Tories had shelved a survey of veterans’ satisfaction with government services. Last conducted in 2010, VAC’s “national client survey” found that while veterans of older conflicts were generally satisfied with the department’s performance, vets who served in more recent conflicts such as Afghanistan were not. Satisfaction levels among those modern-day veterans had dropped from 80 per cent in 2007 to 68 per cent in 2010.

The survey was scheduled to be repeated in 2012-13. That never happened. The government decided to skip it — an irresponsible decision for several reasons. When a study shows a marked decline in satisfaction, it’s a good idea to conduct a follow-up to find out if what you’re looking at is a blip or a trend. And the Conservatives have profoundly changed the way services are delivered to vets by closing offices and moving to a Service Canada and online access model; one would assume Ottawa would want to know how that’s working out.
But Mr. Harper doesn't want to know how things are working out. He only wants to know whether or not he'll win the upcoming election. Charles Dickens would recognize him immediately, just as he recognized an earlier character:

But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster.
For Stephen Harper and Ebeneezer Scrooge, money counts. People don't.

Essential job requirements to be a CPC or OPC Minister…

Trashy's World - 12 hours 52 min ago
1. Publicly state that evolution should not be taught in schools… Check 2. Tweet to the world that evolution should not be considered a “fact”. Check  3. Make slanderdous and way-over-top statements about Ontario’s school cirriculum Check Yup. And add in the: - mandatory climate-change denying blathering; - Jenny McCarthy anti-vax fan club membership, […]

Tuesday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - 14 hours 13 min ago
This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Carol Graham discusses the high financial and personal costs of poverty:
Reported stress levels are higher on average in the U.S. than in Latin America. Importantly, the gap between the levels of the rich and poor is also much greater, with the U.S. poor reporting the highest levels of stress of all cohorts. Of course ‘stress’ is a complex phenomenon, however: “Good” stress is associated with the pursuit of goals, while “bad” stress is associated with struggling to cope. Bad stress, which is associated with an inability to plan ahead, lower life satisfaction levels, and worse health outcomes, is more common at the bottom of the distribution.

Pain, worry, sadness, and anger (reported as experienced the day before or not) are also all significantly higher among low income cohorts than among wealthy ones, while reported satisfaction with life as a whole is significantly lower... ...
There are also big differences in reports of chronic suffering across income groups, according to a recent study by Ronald Anderson. Those with incomes below the poverty line were twice as likely to report chronic pain and mental distress as those earning $75,000 or more, and three to five times more likely to have extreme pain or extreme distress.

Experiencing discrimination is also associated with stress. Among other things, discrimination raises the transaction costs of simple things such as getting a loan or buying a home. Maternal stress related to discrimination is associated with lower birth weights—which are linked to worse outcomes on a number of progress indicators—thus passing disadvantage on to the next generation...- And Eli Hager comments on the spread of new debtors' prisons in the U.S. as just another areas where people living in poverty are facing gratuitous obstacles.

- Gaspard Sebag reports on McDonalds' widespread tax evasion. And while we can fully expect any corporation to argue that it's managed to stay in a legal grey area, Jon Stone finds that the public isn't prepared to tolerate that kind of hair-splitting from corporations who aren't paying their fair share.

- And there's particularly little reason to see any meaning in bare compliance with the letter of the law when, as Michael Gould-Wartofsky writes, the game is rigged in favour of the wealthy to begin with. Speaking of which, the Globe and Mail weighs in on how tax-free savings accounts have been designed to devour Canada's federal budget in the name of transferring wealth upward.

- Mark Dowie covers the failure of Stephen Harper's all-in bet on the tar sands from a U.S. perspective.

- Finally, Tim Harper rightly argues that Canada needs to stop any slide into intolerance - no matter  how determined the Cons are to push us in that direction for political gain. And PressProgress highlights how the combination of bigotry and gross intrusions into civil liberties has even right-wing commentators slamming the Harper Cons.

Bill C-51 and MacKay's friends with benefits

Creekside - 16 hours 36 min ago
Ignoring the over 100 law profs that have just told him he's wrong, JustMin and AttGen Peter MacKay continues to insist that the Cons new anti-terrorism omnibus Bill C-51 is not going to be targetting birdwatchers, enviros, First Nations etc. because judges! warrants! independent judiciary!    About that ...
Press Progress recently asked why lawyers and party donors prominently featured in Justice Minister Peter MacKay's 2012 wedding photos wound up being appointed as judges.  MacKay's best man Josh Arnold, red-arrowed here, was appointed to the bench the year after this photo and his wife Cindy Cormier the year after that. Another appointment is a friend of MacKay's dad.

In fact six of the nine judges appointed to Nova Scotia courts since October 2013 have personal, professional or political connections to MacKay.

CBC picked up the story and Press Progress issued two updates :

UPDATE #1: The CBC wrote a story about this PressProgress report and asked MacKay's office about the judicial appointments. A MacKay spokesperson said: "In the case of lawyers applying to be judges, committees assess them, provide comments, and also recommend them or not for appointment. The minister of justice only appoints those recommended by such committees." 

UPDATE #2: Responding to questions about MacKay's judicial appointments ... Secretary to the Minister of Justice Bob Dechert rejected NDP Justice Critic François Boivin's characterization of the appointments as "patronage" that "undermines the credibility of justice," stating that these "eminently qualified individuals" were "vetted by the judicial advisory council" and that it's "upon their recommendations that all appointments are made."

MacKay himself has said it : "All appointments to the Federal judiciary are made on the recommendation of the 17 Judicial Advisory Committees across the country." 

So backing up a step, who appoints the members of these 17 judicial advisory committees? Turns out it's Peter Mackay!  As JustMin, he gets to pick over half of them on each committee. 

Frank Mag had a bit of fun with a few of MacKay's committee picks last month:

Ok, so who else has the Federal Justice Minister appointed? Here's six more:

John Tropak :  Manitoba CPC fundraiser and former campaign manager for Shelly Glover; donated $5,000 to CPC

Ken Lee : Manitoba PC leadership election committee chair and fundraiser

Marni Larkin : top Conservative strategist for Manitoba PC provincial campaign, served on the party's national council, advisor to local Manitoba riding races, CPC donor on the CBC's board of directors and, um, motivational speaker at *** Marni's Magic ***

Gordon MacFarlane : Progressive Conservative Party of Prince Edward Island’s Leadership Convention Committee spokesman

Kerri A. Carpenter : 2009 Conservative nominee for Cardigan PEI riding

Catherine H. Zingg : lawyer at Flaherty Dow Elliott & McCarthy ; co-wrote a book with The Honourable James M. Flaherty
In a law article from last fall : How do we get more diversity on the bench when there’s no transparency in the appointments process? Stephen Lautens notes the Facebook page of one maritime appointments committee member shows the friend in her first slot is Peter MacKay’s mom, while another "regularly posts pro-Harper government/anti-Justin Trudeau tweets on his Twitter account". 

This is not to suggest that the friends-of-Cons committee members won't do a fabulous job of carefully vetting MacKay's wedding guests before recommending them to the bench, or that once appointed, Peter MacKay's friends won't make wonderful judges just as annoying to the Cons as Steve's Supremes picks have turned out to be.

But it does suggest our Justice Minister is quietly building up his own personal patronage circle of Con-friendly "activist judges" - which doesn't do much to bolster his warrants! independent judiciary! argument against possible Bill C-51 abuses.
h/t Antonia Z for Frank Mag link

Senategate 2: The Duffy Scandal is Back in the News

Montreal Simon - 17 hours 11 min ago

It seems like such a long time since Senategate was Canada's hottest and most scandalous show.

And I've missed the cast of shady characters so badly. 

The faithful fanatic Nigel Wright, the old scoundrel Mike Duffy, the shadowy lawyer Benjamin Perrin, and all the other members of the Senategate gang.

But now they're back !!!

Along with all kinds of new and used talent from Stephen Harper's PMO. 
Read more »

Brad Love Arrested: Accused of Violating Probation

Anti-Racist Canada - Mon, 03/02/2015 - 22:46
Brad Love just can't seem to stop getting into trouble. For someone who works as much as he (and Paulie) claim he does, he sure has a lot of time to harass people via mail, email, over the phone, and in person.

Maybe he should find a different hobby?

Paulie continue to presents Brad Love as a victim of a conspiracy to silence him.

An alternative theory we would posit is that Brad Love is an asshole who lacks impulse control who enjoys bullying people.

The story is covered in the local paper. It provides a little more detail than Paulie's sob story
Anti-immigrant activist arrested for allegedly violating probationA few excerpts:

....Love allegedly made obscene comments towards members of Some Other Solutions Society for Crisis Prevention, which provides aid for people suffering from emotional and mental health issues....

....This is not the first time Love has been in the news for alleged hate offences. In 2003, Love served 18 months in an Ontario jail for violating Canada's hate crime legislation. In that case, he was convicted of sending hate mail to 17 people....

....In 2013, Love was charged with criminally harassing several individuals - including members of this newspaper and a child collecting donations for Oxfam Canada - with his extreme political views on race and immigration, mostly through letters or phone calls....

A child collecting donations for Oxfam Canada?

Big, brave, man.

Read more »

The Sad Saga of Vikingwarlord14: Part III

Anti-Racist Canada - Mon, 03/02/2015 - 20:37
We had anticipated our articles (here and here) detailing the online misadventures of misanthropic shut-in Jonathan "vikingwarrior14" Kotyk could result in a bit of discussion back on Stormfront. That response, occurring a day after the second of the two articles, really was a joy to read.

"Canadianationalist" does make a good point about not feeding us low-hanging fruit. Thankfully, Kotyk proceeds to ignore that good advice:
Name calling? Hmmmm.......Think we hit a nerve? We think we may have hit a nerve. But he wasn't quite finished:

Now, you see, it's stuff like this that begs to be made fun of.Read more »

Stephen Harper and the Fake War on Sexual Offenders

Montreal Simon - Mon, 03/02/2015 - 20:14

From the moment Stephen Harper and his Con zombies came to power they have been  loudly proclaiming, or moaning and wailing, that only they can protect Canadian children.

And that anybody who doesn't agree with them must be a sexual predator.

But like so many other things the Con regime does, it is all posturing.

They really are zombies.

And their dangerous incompetence knows no limits.
Read more »

Why Would You Be Enslaved To A Vegetable?

Politics and its Discontents - Mon, 03/02/2015 - 19:03
Vegetable, get behind me! So intones Pastor Pat Robertson in one of his finest hours. Watch and be saved, brothers and sisters!

Recommend this Post

Sounds Like a Plan to Me. Meet the Burial Pod.

The Disaffected Lib - Mon, 03/02/2015 - 13:50

An Italian group has come up with a dandy idea to make good use of you when you're gone - grow a tree.  The deceased is bundled, fetal position, into a biodegradable pod/coffin that is then paired to a tree of choice.  The tree/pod combo is planted/buried and you become nutrients to help the tree grow.

Another idea in the offing in Seattle is a compostitorium.  It consists of a multi-floor conveyor belt.  The body is buried in a quantity of compost and decomposes as the belt slowly moves along.  At the end the enriched compost and bones are crushed up and off they go to a lovely garden somewhere.

Hmm - Fighting Kiddie Porn or Helping Get Harper Re-elected? Decisions, Decisions.

The Disaffected Lib - Mon, 03/02/2015 - 12:43
Yes they are indeed the Royal Conservative Mounted Police.  That issue is put to rest by the CBC News report that the RCMP has been withholding millions of dollars earmarked to fight online child pornography in order to help Harper balance the budget in time for the federal election.

Seriously, you can't make this up.

CBC News has learned that over a five-year period, Canada's national police force Mounties withheld some $10 million in funds earmarked for its National Child Exploitation Co-ordination Centre and related projects, linchpins of the government's anti-child-pornography agenda.

The cuts, made partly as an RCMP contribution to the government's so-called deficit reduction action plan, have occurred even as the number of child-exploitation tips from the public increase exponentially.

The systematic underfunding is highlighted in a draft report prepared for Public Safety Canada, and obtained through the Access to Information Act.

It makes you wonder how much the Hank Paulson clown car trimmed from its budget for providing intelligence and security service to Canada's mainly American energy companies.

Syrzia - A Much Needed Primer for Progressives Everywhere.

The Disaffected Lib - Mon, 03/02/2015 - 12:23
No, we're not Greece.  We don't have their crushing economic crisis.  We don't have the punitive austerity regime they had.  Yet there are many problems, existing and looming for Canada, that will require progressive solutions and Syrzia affords us a mirror in which to take the measure of our own political parties.  We have much to learn.  From The Tyee:

You can't watch what is unfolding in Greece and not marvel at the clarity, fortitude and nerve of the new government there. In fact, we're pretty sure that many progressives across North America are saying to themselves, even if just quietly, "We'd sure like to do that."

Syriza is a heterogeneous party, made up of diverse strands of the Greek left, but united by the view that the country's ruling parties were too compromised to deliver a departure from the crushing economic conditions imposed on it. Although it didn't initiate them, Syriza opened itself to the social movements that emerged to challenge austerity and has become their authentic political voice. Now it has taken power peacefully and formed the first European government of the radical left since the Second World War. It did what parties are supposed to do.

The article lists eight rules that progressives need to learn from the example of Syrzia:

1.  Clearly identify the enemy.  

It is sometimes necessary to identify your own government as your enemy, especially when it is operating in collaboration with other entities in ways that are detrimental to your country and your childrens' future.  Don't forget who started this.  It was the Harper government, especially Joe Oliver, who smeared a goodly segment of our population as dangerous radicals, inimical to the interests of the country.  Returning that greeting is not only justifiable, it's essential.

2.  The forces of democracy have an obligation to fight back against the oligarchs and the "totalitarianism of the market."

Only a few benefit from the oligarchs' policies, but they have the power and they have a grip on the political system. The oligarchs prevent the creation of a genuinely fair electoral playing field via a rigged campaign finance system and the rollback of voting rights. The oligarchs bring in cheap immigrant labour but prevent immigrants from getting citizenship. The oligarchs buy politicians. Democracy -- real democracy -- is a threat to them.

3.  Inequality can only be fought when it is articulated what it means for people, how it denies them things that they need.
4.  Draw a link between what people need and what society itself needs.
Concentration of economic and political power in an elite ultimately weakens the country.  There is a need to stimulate demand which cannot be achieved as an increasingly large portion of the economy goes to just a few.  We must rebalance the rights of labour versus capital, rehabilitate the role of labour and collective bargaining, and restore public investment.
5.  Have a programme.  Say what you will do.  Don't get dragged into debates about how you will do it.
Syriza convinced voters that it was going to take action to end austerity. Incessantly, the right, the media and the European elite tried to goad them into saying that executing their program would require leaving the Eurozone, but they never took the bait.

What enabled Alexis Tsipras to give such a defiant speech earlier this month was that his party had campaigned and won on a clear platform. Not for ideological reasons, but because the Greek people instructed him to. He has no right to bow to the demands of Greece's creditors.  

6.  Electoral reform.  
As we've progressed steadily into the depths of neo-liberalism, political parties have shunned expressions of vision and platforms that resonate with the public. We've learned that politicians that don't make clear promises, arguing that it would put them at a disadvantage during a campaign, almost never introduce them afterwards when they're successful.  This is the formula for elected dictatorship.  
7.  If the political system is broken, be willing to start again, from scratch.
The adage that the way to reform is by getting inside and changing the party is a load of hooey.  That doesn't effect real change but merely sublimates dissent.  If the system is broken, try a new party, a new movement.
Too often political parties have become insular, out of touch with the public. They exist, seemingly, for the sake of existing, of preserving "the club."  
8.  Don't Seek a Return to the Good Old Days.
The support progressives need to mobilize is the young adult vote. Progressivism is about the future and the future is theirs.  Older voters may yearn for the good old days or whatever facsimile exists in their memories but they think it best not to stray far from today's "business as usual" political parties.
The 60s are gone and they're not coming back.  We have changed the world in ways we cannot fully comprehend.  We have to let the past go.

The article concludes with a plea for progressives to do whatever we can to help out Spain's new left-wing movement, Podemos.   For all the successes Syrzia has achieved, a victory in the upcoming polls for Podemos will be a massive breakthrough for the future of us all. 


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