Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Leaders' Debate Reveals Low Level of Political Culture

Fraudulent Consensus on Austerity

June 4, 2014 - Vol. 3 No. 39

A lack of politics characterized the so-called Leaders' Debate held on June 3. No issues of serious concern to the working people of Ontario were discussed. This confirms that wrecking is the order of the day in Ontario, not nation-building.

The destruction of Ontario's manufacturing base was only mentioned in passing. It was raised not out of concern for what is happening to Ontario's economy but in order for one party to attack another to claim that if they were in power things would be different. Other matters of serious concern for the working people such as increasing levels of poverty and social problems amongst the people, the attacks on the rights of injured workers, high levels of unemployment, Ontario's increasing annexation into the United States of North American Monopolies -- none of these problems was even raised during the debate, let alone discussed in a manner that would permit the people to draw warranted conclusions.

The so-called debate was reduced to an attempt by each leader to discredit the others so as to appear credible and trustworthy. This is cynical indeed. The discourse focused on the scandals in which the Liberals are embroiled and declarations about Ontario's bright future, subject to its ability to implement the austerity agenda. On the latter topic, all the "Leaders" declared a consensus.

This performance called a Leaders Debate is to perpetuate the pretence that the media is carrying out its democratic duty to inform the public about where the so-called major parties stand so that they can then claim a "mandate" received from the public. Such a mandate is supposed to confer legitimacy on whatever government gets formed. It is a bad joke because of course the people and their concerns are totally marginalized by the election process itself.

The "Leaders" are heads of mafia-style organizations which operate as cartels. They collude and contend which creates a cartel party system. For instance, in this election, these parties have reached a consensus that the debt and deficits are the problem. Everything must be done to eliminate the deficit by limiting government spending on social programs while Ontario's credit rating must be protected by paying down debts! This is the bottom line. It is not to be questioned in any way. The only disagreement can be over the amount.

Even on this, their bankruptcy is mind-boggling. The PCs are vying with the Liberals over the definition of what constitutes fairness. PC Leader Tim Hudak said his approach would be fairer and better than that of the Liberals because he would cut wages and jobs across the board, starting with MPPs' salaries. Plus, his contracting out of public services would also be across the board. Wynne raised amongst other things that she can be trusted because her budget provides no wage or salary increases for public sector workers. This should remind everyone that whatever she calls negotiations are bogus since the austerity agenda is a done deal. Either the working people accept, or they can expect to be criminalized. Wynne also said that "partnering" with companies to invest in Ontario will create the conditions for a sustained recovery in Ontario. What does it mean? This "partnering" has been going on since the days of Mike Harris to what end? Which one of them has invested what and what jobs have been created? Why doesn't she speak straight and permit economic problems to be solved instead of spouting phrases to make sure everything remains hidden, especially the fact that she uses her budget to channel money to the rich under one pretext or another.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath joined the consensus about debts and deficits and said she would eliminate the deficit by 2017, but do so in a manner that does not compromise "the middle class." Talk about upholding the interests of the "middle class" is a fashionable neo-liberal way to refer to a section of the working class which, thanks to union standards, had achieved a certain standard of living which is under attack as a result of two-tier wages, loss of pensions and benefits, the destruction of the health care system, to say nothing about the loss of manufacturing jobs. This "middle class" includes the majority of artists, writers, actors and professionals in all sectors of the economy whose economic stability has been thrown out of the window as a result of job loss, or loss of savings and pensions, etc. It is a farce. She also said she would not give handouts to companies without strings attached, which is a way to justify public-private partnership (P3s) which are not, in fact, based on mutual benefit.

This consensus over the need to tighten the austerity agenda is played out within an irrational world of buzzwords, phrases and concepts trotted out by the institutions, agencies and businesses of the international financial oligarchy. The government pays people in these institutions, agencies and businesses high salaries and bonuses to put people out of work. They put forward theories and methods which destroy the economy and the natural and social environments. They restructure states in favour of arrangements which put the private interests of the monopolies in charge of the public domain. The "Leaders" only differ on how they think they can fool the public into believing that they are not wolves in sheep's clothing. The winner then gets the prize.

This is no way to address the direction needed for the economy of Ontario. The starting point would be to recognize that the workers are the producers of the wealth and together with indigenous peoples, the people are the owners of the resources and their well-being and claims on the economy and those of mother nature must be put in first place.

The Consensus of the "Leaders"

The consensus of the "Leaders" was that the austerity agenda is the only way forward for Ontario and that Ontarians had best choose the version of austerity they find least offensive. The fact that the austerity agenda is a fraud to extract billions from public spending to pay the rich and open up valuable social programs to private interests was of course not addressed. None of the "Leaders" took a stand against taking billions out of social programs to pay the moneylenders and the rich in various ways. None of them admitted that this has solved none of the problems of the economy or solved the problem of needed investment or provided the services the people need.

Consider the Harris government, which was booted out of office many years ago. It spent years stealing funds from the public treasury under the hoax of eliminating deficits and paying down debts. By the time he and his crew left office, Ontario's debt was ballooning but the money lenders had certainly enriched themselves a great deal! Public services which required reforms to strengthen and modernize them, were decimated through privatization and cutbacks. New user fees were imposed and regulations which upheld the public interest were cut in the name of eliminating red tape. Labour laws were circumvented, gutted and mocked.

The "Leaders' consensus" on the need for an austerity agenda is what they hope to get adopted by the society. This is precisely what they will not get. Society is divided into classes where the one class comprised of those who work is on the receiving end of the austerity agenda and knows it. The very idea of achieving a social consensus when this is the case, is their own wishful thinking. No amount of fast talk and attempts to create a Liberal sweep in this election by declaring that the Liberal notion of fairness is better than the PC notion of fairness will provide a popular mandate to pursue this so-called consensus.

The interests of the working people are favoured by voting No! to austerity. This can be done by rejecting both the Liberals and the PCs in this election. This is a way the working people can make a statement about where they stand. By using their vote strategically in each riding, the people of Ontario have it within their means to block a majority for any of these parties who want to use it to claim a consensus to push the interests of the financial oligarchy to the hilt.

Show the ruling class that there is no consensus for austerity! Deny all the parties of the majority they want so as to rule by decree!

Manufacturing Yes! Nation-Wrecking No!
Reject the Austerity Agenda -- No Means No!