Who Are the Leaders with an Authentic Way Forward?

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What are they saying to the growing inequalities of the 21st century?
What are they saying to the growing inequalities of the 21st century?

“I want Dr. King to know that I didn’t come to Selma to make his job difficult. I really did come thinking I could make it easier. If the white people realize what the alternative is, perhaps they will be more willing to hear Dr. King.” 

– Malcolm X

Who is today’s Malcolm X?

Who comes close?

Who is our MLK?

Is this tension too binary for the 21st century?

Respect has not improved much since the 1960s, but things have calmed down, in a Brave New World kind of way.

Are we in a cycle of social tension ramping up to the kind of confrontation we haven’t seen in half a century?

Do “they” want us to just shut up?

If there is a storm brewing, can you sense it, and more importantly, do you have the capacity to sense it?

Who are our leaders and who are the leaders who have an authentic way forward?

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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, dgiVista.org.

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6 thoughts on “Who Are the Leaders with an Authentic Way Forward?”

  1. I’m increasingly of the opinion that North America simply isn’t where the action is. The anglosphere is in decline and the leaders with an authentic way forward (to the extent that isn’t a badly formulated question) are in Latin America, Greece and so forth. Hugo Chavez was one, Maduro’s looking pretty good. Evo Morales, Rafael Correa, Alexis Tsipras . . .
    But all those leaders are only as good as the people, the movements pushing them forward. We don’t have great leaders in North America because we don’t have great popular movements.
    The closest the Anglosphere comes these days is heroes. Not sure if that’s a leader without a movement or a popular movement of one, but what we have is Snowdens and Assanges.

    1. yes, the lack of popular movements is a key, but it’s also a chicken and an egg thing.

      but looking outside the continent sure is useful: chavez, morales, vandana shiva, desmond tutu, maybe even occupy/anonymous/pirate/idlenomore to go with the wikileaks.

      and recall, wikileaks had a hand in tunisia, egypt, etc. into the arab spring. so circumstances can transform into movements.

  2. Stephen, I am convinced that the leader with a clear path forward will be the person who intends to restore progressivism to our politics. Progressivism is the essential counterfoil to corporatism and Canada, having fallen into the pitfall that awaits petro-states, has laundered it out of politics. The Liberals, unquestionably, but also the NDP have turned corporatist to the point where we don’t even notice how far they have declined.

    Every now and then when I need to recalibrate my political compass I revisit Republican president Theodore Roosevelt’s “Square Deal” speech of 1910 in support of progressive reform.

    Progressivism is what anchors genuine democracy and it was progressivism that fueled the rise of our once robust, vibrant and broad-based middle class in the postwar era.

    We need leadership that will once again embrace those values and principles. I don’t think we will get that from Trudeau or Mulcair.

  3. I know it might seem radical, Stephen, but that’s only because we have sat quietly as our political parties purged themselves of their inconvenient progressive element.

    Yet I don’t think a renewed progressive politics would be remotely radical. It simply wouldn’t be the sterile politics we have been left with today, the type that speaks to and resonates with a steadily declining segment of the population.

    A good many people have disengaged from the meagre political offerings of the day. Yet they are still very much concerned, worried even, about their own job security, our environmental decline, the inequality that confronts them at every turn, the future that faces their children and, on these things, who is reaching out to them? Trudeau? No. Mulcair? No.

    Teddy Roosevelt, when addressing an assembly of farmers in Kansas, made some remarkable statements, noting that some might take him for a Communist except that he was quoting Abraham Lincoln, chapter and verse.

    There’s an abundance of progressive gospel because many if not most of the major political leaders of the past century and a half have been progressives even when some labeled themselves Conservatives or Republicans.

    We forget that even Nixon, for all his remarkable flaws, enacted some very progressive legislation. He would not be electable in today’s America. Corporatism inevitably cants politics to the far right, veering away from progressivism. When Harper rose to power he made no secret that his overriding goal was to shift Canada’s political centre permanently, far to the right. It is to the eternal shame of the Liberals and New Democrats that they aided and abetted Harper in achieving that goal by severing their ties to progressivism and moving in Harper’s chosen direction.

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