A NEW YEAR'S TOP 10 LIST FOR THE LEFT: 2005 Was a Year in Which We Lefties Made Encouraging Gains
Stanford, Jim, CCPA Monitor
As a die-hard socialist living in pretty capitalistic times, I take a good shot of left-wing Prozac with my orange juice every morning. God knows, some days I need two-just to restore my gumption for challenging the rich and powerful.
The year that passed, however, offered lefties like me a considerable quotient of natural anti-depressants. Because it seems to me that we actually won a few battles last year. Here's my Top 10 list of the greatest things to happen to the left in 2005:
1. Minority government: Minority government makes for great drama. It also makes for good policy. This minority government lasted just 17 months, but brought more new social spending than any government in a generation, made genuine progress on equity issues, and protected workers' contracts under corporate bankruptcy. In fact, I liked this one so much, I wanted another. From the perspective of what actually happens in society, minority government was the year's greatest gift to the left in 2005.
2. George Bush: A bumbling right-winger who manipulates his country into hopeless military adventures is already a lame duck not a year into his second term, and has run up the largest (and most pointless) government deficit in human history. What more could the left ask for? The painful part is that Bush could probably get re-elected today (which says something scary about U.S. democracy). That poses a real and present danger to the whole planet in its own right. In every other country, however (including Canada), Bush is a shot in the left's arm.
3. The Latin American revolution: The election of union leader and coca farmer Eva Morales as Bolivia's President in December was the latest conquest for the renewed left-wing tide sweeping Latin America. Fidel Castro used to be in a club of one; now he has most of the continent on his side. The next showdown: Mexican elections this July. Andres Lopez Obrador, the left-wing mayor of Mexico City (currently topping the polls), could bring the revolution right to the Rio Grande.
4. Montreal and Kyoto: Canada played host to the 11th Conference of the Parties in Montreal, which formally approved the next stage of Kyoto rules on greenhouse pollution. Despite serious arm-twisting by the non-participating Americans, all 157 countries there agreed to move to the next stage. Now, if only Canada could get its act together and live up to our own commitments.
5. Conrad Black: Sure, it doesn't put a chicken in the pot. But the sight of Conrad Black sitting in the docket warms any left-wing heart. I nominate Linda McQuaig (whom he once wanted "horsewhipped") as his chief prosecutor, and 12 former strikers at the Calgary Herald as the jury. My only regret: Canada's toothless securities regulators couldn't do the job themselves.
6. Same-sex marriage: Liberation for some is a little liberation for all. …