For nearly half a century now, NDP supporters were told by federal Liberals that “A vote for the NDP is a vote for the Conservatives---don’t split the ‘progressive’ vote." New Democrats responded that it was more important to vote for something than against it, to vote according to one’s hopes and ideals rather than according to one’s fears and anathemas. The NDP stood for something quite distinct from the Liberals—so we were told.
Now we hear New Democrats singing the same old federal Liberal tune: a vote for the Green Party is a vote for the provincial Liberals. “Don’t split the vote !” they warn. “We can’t allow THEM to return to power to complete their ruination of the province.”
But is it the Campbell Liberals who are ruining British Columbia or the ideology which drives them, the prevailing ideology of our time and the death knell of our civilization? The ideology of Growthism, the belief that infinite growth is possible and necessary in a finite world. A belief in a “hair-of-the-dog” therapy for our economic hang-over, a stimulation of stalled growth by the creation of money from thin air to fix a toxic system rather than scrap it? The BC Liberals and the NDP are merely two factions of this religion of madness and denial.
NDP Environment critic Shane Simpson is a proponent of an oxymoronic palliative he calls “managed growth”. He is like a man who thinks he can stuff an entire clothing store into his bedroom closet just by buying closet organizers. It has never occurred to him just to stop buying clothes. We don’t “manage” growth, growth manages us. The time for steady-state economics is four decades overdue. And the leader of the BC Green Party, Jane Sterk, is the first leader of a Canadian political party to commit to it. It is an historic intellectual breakthrough. Finally someone offers a revolutionary vision.
A vote for one’s principles is NEVER a wasted vote. For it is from a small bridgehead that ultimate victories are won. Third parties can form governments--ask Ed Schreyer. And failing that, they can certainly influence them.
Strategic voting, on the other hand, is a delegation of one’s conscience and a betrayal of one’s ideals. Both the incumbent Liberals and the putative “alternative”, the NDP, want to “grow the pie”--- they merely argue about its division. The NDP is not the alternative. Economic growth combined with a “green agenda” is as dubious as a virgin birth. There is no social democracy on a dead planet.
Why did it take me so long to understand that and break with my robotic voting habits? I’m proof that addictions can be broken. Time for you to give it a trial too.
PS This is a departure for me.(Just read my last rant about the federal Green Party's confused vision.) I have been scathing in my denunciations of the Greens and not satisfied with any form of representatve democracy. Direct democracy is my antidote. However, in this BC provincial electiion finally someone has something negative to say about growth. No other Green leader has taken Sterk's stand. I feel I must line up behind her and her historic stance, despite my distaste for much of the party's approach. I don't feel that I can nitpick now. If they accept my key premise, how can I NOT work with them? They are the only vehicle I see now for some of my ideas, ideas founded on the formerly conventional wisdom of the "IPAT" equation formulated by Ehrlich and Holdren four decades ago.
As I have written, the Greens are an evolving party that is rife with inconsistency. But the NDP, on the other hand, is consistently wrong. They have cohesion but then so do a herd of lemmings that run toward the cliff. There are pockets of full comprehension in the Green Party, and from these seeds a greater understanding can grow. Even those Greens with whom I have had vehement disagreements with have exhibited a base line of ecological literacy seldom found in the NDP. They have potential, Canada's social democrats apparently don't. I know, it took me four decades to find out working from the inside.
New Democrats fundamentally don't get it. Their ideology is rooted in the cornucopian belief that there is enough to go around, and that just redisbribution and new technologies will solve all shortages. They are profoundly wrong, and the end of the petroleum age will be their rude awakening. Those of us who will survive the coming Kunstlerian future will experience a crash dive in population and consumption levels. While equitable wealth dispersion must be an important feature of this brutally austere post-carbon world, the emphasis must still be placed on sustainability.
So far, New Democrats still have not grasped the concept of "carrying capacity". They are pathetically antique and should be stuffed and placed in the Smithsonian so that visitors may marvel at how such a dinosaur could have survived for so long on a diet of shop-worn left/right dichotomies and tired slogans.