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Round Table Post

Oct 15, 2013
Henaway: Wake up the Sleeping Elephants

Mostafa Henaway is a community organizer with the Immigrant Workers Centre, and member of Tadamon! Montreal.
Beyond Stop Harper
There are some sleeping elephants in Canadian society, which might be worth waking up. I agree with Louis Phillipe in that the unity of left can create a degree of momentum, but unity is not the only strategic problem we face. An equally pressing matter is engaging the vast numbers of people who are affected by Conservative legislation, but whose concerns are not represented by any political party.
To see them, we need an orientation that looks beyond the left. A majority of people -- working people in precarious work, precarious immigration status -- are struggling. These groups are also the most impacted by the omnibus budget bill C-38/C-45. Who will end up with no pension? Who will retire at 67 instead of 65? Who will struggle to access unemployment insurance? Whose lands will be damaged by industry? Who is impacted by the changes to immigration policy? People in all these groups are unlikely to perceive themselves as part of the left. 
It's a question of strategy and orientation. There is a deep and broad part of the population that can move us down the road less traveled.
This government needs to be challenged, but blaming other parts of the left is not the way. We need to take the first steps, but we also do not need to create something so new. Existing initiatives -- anti-poverty, migrant justice, anti-colonial and environmental -- can form a solid foundation. These are not marginal issues; each one is central to neoliberal economic restructuring. Many of the pieces are in place, but a shift in orientation can build an anti-austerity movement that will challenge these politics regardless of who is in power.


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