So, if Peter and I are right, that the most important issue right now is not who The Left backs in the next Federal or Provincial election, what then is the proverbial most important issue right now? Are we not merely advocating that we cut off our nose to spite one's face?
First, I'd let the parties convince who they can on that one and everyone pick their choice of the party likely to do the least amount of harm right now. If you really are persuaded that it is even important to vote at all at this time. And I, for one, am not. All of the most likely current successful contenders right now, in my view, are more alike as peas in the pod than they are substantially different, and about to produce negligible change in the current neoconservative course upon which capitalism world wide and in this country is embarked.
Better, and more likely to produce a positive result in the final analysis, I think, is simply for masses of people to just stay at home on voting day, and vote with their feet, like between 30-40 % of the population already do at election time, against the currently inadequate and failed status quo Big Money, ruling class controlled so-called "democratic" system. Such a behaviour, in fact, is far more likely to lead to this electoral and party representation system's collapse and meaningful reformation than the religious mantra pursuit of voting at all costs for "the lesser evil". (The generally accepted folk wisdom on any given subject is likely, at least, as often not true as true anyway.)
But then, I agree that this in and of itself is likely not enough either, for as well as the negative there must also be the positive to walk hand in hand with it.
And the positive is, in my view, the overwhelming need to re-focus instead on rebuilding and invigorating the mass social movements of the people, including the labour movement, and movements amongst the poor, as the real source of all power, which too many years of social democratic (NDP) reliance and control over the left, joined with their effective control over the leadership of the trade union movement have been allowed to languish and fall into virtual irrelevance. Without such vibrant social movements of "the people", these co-opted NDP and Trade Union leaders have themselves been eunuchized, lost their power base, and been party to their own decline, and possibly impending demise. The very social environment such movements create, and upon which they depended to sustain them, they destroyed with their opportunist insistence upon the overweening importance of "electoral success" within the status quo system of so-called "democracy" itself.
All of which has led, post the collapse of "liberal" postwar "prosperity capitalism" to the sorry state in which the people, society, and the natural environment are increasingly coming to exist. For the NDP, the Trade Unions and the left generally were really functioning all along, once "the people" were disengaged, at the discretion and tolerance of the ruling class system-, which all came to collectively forget, over-believing in their own natural power assumptions.
Which is certainly not a desirable position for any of us on The Left to be in, for sure. Indeed, life would be much simpler at least, if they were right, and all we really had to worry about is, alongside whom to park our X, once every four years, and then just lean back and party hardy thereafter.
Because it means now that we actually have to do something. We have to figure out how we are going to create these social movements again, and then engage them and move them towards some kind of a United Front against "the system", as had to be done by earlier generations. Well fortunately, this is in part being made easier for us by some folks themselves, (who are ahead of the Left very much actually, doing to much yada yada, as we are too often prone), such as those folks right now who are occupying those buildings in downtown Vancouver, demanding increased housing units to be made available to the poor. (Which I think is an outstanding action by these folks which can and needs to lead to the creation of a massive movement of the "engaged poor" everywhere.) "The Left" needs to get in there, work with and assist these folks, and all such movements like it, from whatever social direction they emerge. (Food Banks are much in need of radicalization as well, in my view.)
Likewise, if there is not one currently, inside or outside the trade union movement, there is a need for a major reformation and change of leadership direction within the House of Labour itself. And there needs to emerge there, a social movement as well, to achieve this.
Unorganized workers need to begin to search out ways as well, that they can begin to come together, initially secretly if need be, to organize themselves and build up a power across society that serves their interest as well. And Left folks amongst unorganized workers need to take the lead in that.
And the "social movement need list" goes on, into the environment, the special conditions of women and children, and even students and academics need to be brought to see the commonality of their interests and opportunities, with those of the mass of the citizenry. They have education and leadership roles that they can play in assisting this entire "social movement" creation process.
Not easy. Not formulaic like getting out for this or that party candidate, or even putting your own X on a ballot, but necessary. And more important in the end, in my view. And necessity is the mother of all invention.
And something tells me that Peter may have something additional and cogent to say on this subject as well.