May 31, 2013

Harper, Ford: against the corrupt criminals, the real question is organizing resistance

Editorial by People's Voice Newspaper

Rarely has the gap between the pompous rhetoric of right-wing politicians and the sleazy reality been so vast. Both Stephen Harper and Rob Ford gained office as supposed enemies of corruption and crime, and both now stand revealed as utterly corrupt criminals.

The Prime Minister is deeply entangled in a web of payoffs and backroom deals involving his fired chief of staff and a gaggle of buffoonish Tory Senators caught scamming the public with phony expense claims. The only downside to this news is that the PM may yet force his patronage appointees - Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin, and Patrick Brazeau - to take the fall. But the stench of this scandal will cling to Harper, since it infuriates much of his own voter base who have long been suspicious of the unelected Senate.

Rob Ford's downfall - for surely he cannot survive his latest debacle - is more bad news for the political right. It's true that there is a certain classist and racist twist to the mayor's situation; if Ford had been filmed swilling expensive Scotch with "business leaders" in expensive suits, few would bat an eyelash. But after constructing his image of a down-to-earth fighter for the "little guy", Ford has now betrayed even his most loyal believers.

The task of the left, however, is not to focus on these tawdry spectacles, since the anti-working class agenda is not the product of individual politicians. Scandals can help to erase the phony "populist" image of hypocritical right-wing leaders. But the real question is how to mobilize resistance against big capital and governments (Conservative, Liberal, and even NDP and PQ) which follow the neoliberal model. This requires a conscious effort by the labour movement and its allies to build unity around a real People's Alternative to corporate domination. There are welcome stirrings of interest along such lines, but much more needs to be done.

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