The scale of CERB - 8.5 million recipients - and its speed of implementation has changed the debate about Basic Income and/vs EI. The Liberal-NDP bloc, backed up by sections of labour, have embraced BI as a technocratic renovation aimed at reforging a broad popular base.
Critiques of BI as a neoliberal trojan horse are powerful, especially when/if essential expenses are subordinated to fully marketized prices. But with BI now on the horizon with the NDP and labour as partners, such critiques are useless with no oppositional powerbase or strategy.
Apologies - this thread was cut short due to a bad connection. Continues below.
Taking the trojan horse threat seriously, we must dig in around housing, transit, healthcare, food, social services, etc, build defensive positions, but also prepare for a counterattack to scrap fees, decommodify resources, and win price controls.
Put another way, containing and rolling back the marketization, privatization, commodification of essential services and expenses will be necessary to resist BI as a neoliberal threat (as Milton Friedman and his followers conceived it).
Furthermore, govt talk of intro'ing BI after CERB's popularity may raise popular expectations and bury the miserable labour and left failures around EI reform. For the time being, it is a terrain favourable to the left in advancing universal access over means-testing.
As for workers' power, workplace activists are well situated to build new campaigns to eliminate any BI disqualification penalty with CERB/EI for quitting jobs "voluntarily" during the deadly panic. We may not win this, but it can/will develop and train new worker activists.
The short version is BI looks to be coming in some form, and its left critics (including me) have lost the argument. But we have some time to prepare for a neoliberal trojan horse, and build up new workplace orgs and activists to fight against means-testing BI/EI.

Let's go.

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More from @StandingTheGaff

22 Sep
A frank discussion of bourgeois class strategy by Ibbitson in the Globe - with the big Fraser Institute assist. You can see how they're clarifying their perspectives and generalizing a line of march as they jockey, stoke and manage the crisis to their advantage.
Ibbitson plays the hits from the 90s:
debt-to-GDP ratio
pension bomb
long healthcare wait-times (privatize!)
higher taxes are self-defeating

With new bangers:
structural deficits
deteriorating infrastructure (P3s!)
overcrowded classrooms (P3s!)
low interest rates for how long?
Ibbitson is well-positioned to do this. He's a student of the 1990s "austerity drive". He wrote a book on the Common Sense Revolution, which covers the rise of the Ontario neocons, how they conquered the Ontario PC Party, rebuilt the shattered party and developed the CSR.
Read 9 tweets
14 Sep
I see no compelling evidence that NDP extracted CERB, "paid sick days" from unwilling, inflexible Liberal govt - esp. when NDP aligned with CFIB for wage subsidies. Given their 2008 coalition & Notley/Horgan/Trudeau love triangle, I'd wager there's a top-level Lib-NDP agreement.
The Liberals have always shown incredible flexibility in making populist left pivots. Recent examples include Trudeau's performance in 2015 which @Martin_Lukacs documented so well in his book the Trudeau Formula. Freeland, author of Plutocrats, is well-versed in this, too.
After Liberals made the greatest health & social cuts in Cdn history in 1995, Chretien/Martin won in 1997 on modest social reinvestment (which panned out during the Clinton Boom). They even got Romanow (Judas of Sask socialism) to mollify popular anger over their own health cuts.
Read 13 tweets
25 Aug
Relatedly, Don Cherry's paternal grandfather John was an original NWMP constable and later a Great Lakes ship captain. These ship captains and companies were so brutal and conditions so awful, it spawned the militant Cdn Seaman's Union on the Great Lakes in the 1930s.
During the war, the CSU membership was involved in the merchant navy, the deadliest of any Canadian service in WW2. An estimated 1 in 7 were killed. Once the war was over, the CSU waged a victorious strike in 1946 for the 8 hour day and vastly improved conditions.
John Cherry's son, Delmar, was an electrician for Canadian Steamship Lines, the dominant shipping power on the Great Lakes & St. Lawrence. After the 46 strike, CSL worked with the Liberal govt, mob, police, and red-baiting unionists to terrorize, murder & destroy the CSU in 1949.
Read 6 tweets
24 Aug
If you've ever been subjected to an anti-union talk from a manager or supervisor, you've probably heard a variation of the "third party" argument in which a union will interfere, poison or halt direct relations between you and managers. This is usually bullshit.
However, there's a truth to this argument when a union has no workfloor presence with effective, trusted unionists. In a workplace like this, an appearance by a union rep is strange and alienating and mgmt can stoke anti-unionism, intimidate, and even organize a decert campaign.
Similarly, ineffective union stewards and lazy well-paid union reps responsible for steward training and recruitment means the union is just another bureaucratic hassle for workers. Some stewards are literally selected to discourage grievances so union rep workloads are lighter.
Read 4 tweets
18 Aug
The intention of the police operations and mass arrests at the 2010 G20 summit in Toronto was the destruction, demoralization and disorientation of the Ontario left and fracturing of community-labour coalitions in the immediate wake of the Great Recession.
In many ways, it was an attempt to recreate the falling out between anti-poverty activists and the labour leadership after the Queen's Park Riot in June 2000. CAW pulled its support for OCAP after this battle, effectively condoning police conduct.
Justification for mass arrests was made by the obviously staged abandonment and burning of two cop cars on Queen Street. Like flies to shit, the media trained their cameras on the fires to produce the image and understanding of the protests favourable to the right.
Read 8 tweets
30 Jul
I'm always bewildered with Dippers who defend the Social Contract in Ontario. There was never a technocratic solution to the crisis. The only victory would have been political: an orderly, united retreat and repositioning for the next battle.
Instead of fighting the next battle on these terms, and recognize that electoral defeat was likely, they unleashed an austerity assault on public sector workers, which kicked off a fratricidal civil war that destroyed the strike movement against Harris, and still festers today.
But simply focusing on the Social Contract is to ignore how the policy and legislation fit into an escalating series of substantial, alienating betrayals of the NDP's various organized political bases. Doing so allows us to think further about the Social Contract.
Read 13 tweets

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