The Tao of Politics

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Kevin Potvin’s philosophy shines steadily in The Republic. Snippets of it also grace the pages of The Vancouver Courier, despite its insistence on the Urban Landscape column where Fred Lee goes around taking pictures of the pretty people at high society galas for beautiful people. In fact, Potvin’s column in the June 1, 2005 Courier is opposite Fred Lee’s photos of the beautiful.

Irony lives as Potvin’s column that day dealt with the philosophical depravities of the BC neoLiberal party that clash with his: values that respect more interconnectedness and interdependence in society. The neoLiberals would just like to ignore the mere abstract possibility of social responsibility, gutting it on the alter of individual freedom, greed and selfishness under the accomodating awning of unregulated global capitalism [$6.00 training wage, foreigners building BC’s ferries].

I enjoy Potvin’s work in The Republic so much that each issue has a number of articles that leave me with the me-too feeling of wishing that I had written them.

Potvin’s June 1, 2005 Courier article expressed an optimism about the future of sane society that last month’s tragic reelection of the neoLiberal fools undermines. In the ebb and flow continuum of social movements, the neoLiberal mongers of social destruction will not last long. Indeed, BC’s tendency for polar shifts in political movements supports the yin-yang spinning that some day will return sanity to our provincial legislature.

In a turn of intent pragmatism, the BC New Democrats [formerly the NDP], have spend 19 months pushing new spin: they wish to be the new centrist party of BC. There has never been a substantial third party in BC: no centre. The Greens pretend they can be it, but they end up centre-right with token environmental tendencies that they will subsume beneath sustainable development paradoxes. The DRBC like every other centrist party is hampered by an intangible base. And ever since the Socreds left the scene as the right wing party of the province and the so much more right wing neoLiberal freakshow claimed that end of the spectrum, all that’s left is the credibly-empty 1990’s NDP.

So they elected Carol James as their leader and embraced a mushy middle on the idea, perhaps, that embracing more authentically centrist ideals will get them elected. For certain, a left-wing NDP that will in the future alienate the CanWest neoLiberal Ministry of Communication can never again govern, but a truly centrist party could.

This will leave many true left wingers shivering in the Vancouver winter rains in their patched red underwear. We’ll see if–or some similar umbrella–can make tangible the scattered will of lefties more effectively than the dozens of would-be centre-right parties have done since the neoLiberals have Thatcherized and Reaganized and Friedmanized BC’s economy and social fabric under the guise of a centrist name: “Liberal.”

However the next few years or two decades of the yin-yang spin of BC politics evolve, Potvin’s right. It’s all cyclical. He writes, “overall, we are moving over the course of five centuries inexorably toward and interconnected model of humanity. Sooner of later, our legislation and resources cannot but come to reflect it.” The mere existence and voter support of the Green Party in BC both provincially and federally–despite their pale reflection of their European roots–indicates the truth that people who know about ecology and symbiosis are moving towards voting out shortsighted bastards who can’t see themselves fitting in the big picture. They won’t even have time to let us eat cake…being blind and all.

Vancouver Councillor Fred Bass reflected such long term vision in his letter in the same Courier issue. The blind will eat their young and they won’t even know it.

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Stephen Elliott-Buckley

Post-partisan eco-socialist. at Politics, Re-Spun
Stephen Elliott-Buckley is a husband, father, professor, speaker, consultant, former suburban Vancouver high school English and Social Studies teacher who changed careers because the BC Liberal Party has been working hard to ruin public education. He has various English and Political Science degrees and has been writing political, social and economic editorials since November 2002. Stephen is in Twitter, Miro and iTunes, and the email thing, and at his website,

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