Citizen Action Monitor

“Leap Manifesto”, a compelling, positive vision for Canada’s climate and economy

“Manifesto madness” warns Canada’s corporate mouthpiece, the Globe and Mail

No 1453 Posted by fw, September 18, 2015

Martin Lukacs

“It lays out a vision – bolder than anything on offer from political parties – to transition the country off fossil fuels while simultaneously improving the lives of most Canadians. Climate change is presented not just as an existential crisis but an opportunity – indeed, imperative – to make the political and economic system more just and fair. The smear-jobs started resounding immediately through the echo-chamber of the corporate press. The manifesto was advocating the ‘overthrow of capitalism,’ a ‘utopia’ that could be brought about only through ‘immediate social revolution. It would ‘crash our economy,’ throwing millions into poverty. No pragmatic politician could entertain the ‘manifesto’s madness, thundered Canada’s national paper of record.”Martin Lukacs

Looking ahead, the stakes couldn’t be higher: advocates of the Leap Manifesto for change will be pitted against the political and corporate elites, clinging desperately to the status quo. In Lukas’s closing words: “A powerful movement in Canada, animated by a compelling and positive vision for the climate and economy, can force the hand of whichever government comes to power in October. Even if the entire political class has forgotten this, Canadians haven’t.”

Martin Lukacs (@Martin_Lukacs) writes for the Guardian. He was one of several drafters of the Leap Manifesto. To read and sign it, visit leapmanifesto.org

Download the English version of the Leap Manifesto here: https://leapmanifesto.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Manifesto-en.pdf

The Manifesto’s 15 demands are at the bottom of this post.

To read Lukacs’ original piece in the Guardian click on the following linked title. Or, below, read a repost with added subheadings and highlighted text.

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The Leap Manifesto isn’t radical. It’s a way out of Canada’s head-in-the-sand politics by Martin Lukacs, The Guardian, September 17, 2015

A powerful movement in Canada, animated by a compelling and positive vision for the climate and economy, can force the hand of whichever government comes to power

Leap Manifesto team

Environmental activist David Suzuki, Naomi Klein and several others speak during a news conference to launching “Leap Manifesto: A Call for a Canada Based on Caring for the Earth and One Another” in Toronto on September 15, 2015. Photograph: Mark Blinch / Reuters

Canada’s political class hostile to ideas from outside the box

Every political class considers themselves inclusive, diverse, open-minded. But present ideas that stray outside the boundaries of sanctioned debate, imposed by power and a patrolling press, and watch how quickly they stoop to bullying.

Consider the response to the Leap Manifesto, a declaration released this week by an unprecedented coalition of Canadian authors, artists, national leaders and activists in the midst of a federal election. It lays out a vision – bolder than anything on offer from political parties – to transition the country off fossil fuels while simultaneously improving the lives of most Canadians. Climate change is presented not just as an existential crisis but an opportunity – indeed, imperative – to make the political and economic system more just and fair.

The smear-jobs started resounding immediately through the echo-chamber of the corporate press. The manifesto was advocating the “overthrow of capitalism,” a “utopia” that could be brought about only through “immediate social revolution.” It would “crash our economy,” throwing millions into poverty. No pragmatic politician could entertain the “manifesto’s madness,” thundered Canada’s national paper of record [the Globe and Mail].

But all the Manifesto’s proposals are “within the bounds of classic social democracy”

Except all the manifesto’s proposed policies – respecting Indigenous rights, debating a guaranteed annual income, taking back public control of energy systems, funding clean transit and public investment in low-carbon sectors like education, health and childcare, promoting sustainable farming or raising taxes on corporations and the wealthy, and scrapping trade deals that prevent governments from banning extreme energy extraction – are within the bounds of classic social democracy. And scientific studies – cited in the manifesto – have shown that a complete and economically-beneficial transition toward renewable energy is feasible within the next two to three decades.

What is madness is our current course towards 6 degrees of catastrophic warming

So what in fact is the madness? A science-based political agenda, or our current course toward 6 degrees of catastrophic warming? Collapsing a corporation’s right to override environmental laws, or a collapsing global food supply? Rising wages, or rising seas? The Leap Manifesto isn’t radical. It’s a way out of Canada’s head-in-the-sand politics.

“The Canadian elite seem more able to imagine the end of the world than mild policies that ramp up funding for solar panels”

Yet the establishment is so gripped by the ideology they’ve spent decades throttling the population with that not only does an alternative to the current system seem inconceivable, but any reforms whatsoever are an attempt to destroy it wholesale or induce social chaos. The impact of this neoliberal or austerity ideology – the belief the state has no role in positive collective action, that all solutions should be left to an unregulated market – means the Canadian elite seem more able to imagine the end of the world than mild policies that ramp up funding for solar panels. They cannot answer the latter with reason or argument. They can only answer with energy McCarthyism.

Bottom line, business as usual will break the ecological systems that make life on earth possible

Except now the stakes are greater than ever. If we don’t break the boundaries of this narrowly policed debate, we will eventually break the ecological systems that make life possible on earth. Thankfully, the online response from Canadians and thousands of new signatories to the manifesto demonstrates that ordinary people are much more tuned into the realities of the climate crisis – and the changes it urges us on to – than the corporate media and its political masters.

There is a growing global call to transform capitalism before it destroys us

To see that bold visions appeal deeply to so many across the world you have only to look at the Pope’s recent climate encyclical – a powerful call to transform the economic system before it destroys the ecological basis for life – or the rise of left-wing parties in southern Europe and the election of Jeremy Corbyn as the UK’s new Labour leader. The neoliberal ideology is crumbling. The need for public austerity amidst obscene private wealth has shown itself to be a sham. Alternatives are possible, no matter the hysteria the corporate media – one of the last bastions of this ideology – attempt to foster.

This election year, Canadians who can’t find what they want, will vote for what they don’t want

During Canada’s fall election, millions of Canadians will not vote for what they want – since the parties aren’t offering it – but against what they don’t want. Like most of the specific policies laid out in the Leap Manifesto, they are more progressive than the parties. Indeed the Liberal party has started to regain momentum in polls as they have presented themselves to the left of the New Democratic Party – newly minted as opponents of the austerity agenda and proponents of massive spending in green infrastructure. No matter how cynical the gesture – the Liberals presided over the most savage austerity in the 1990s, gutting Canada’s social programs, and the announced spending would undermine rather than strengthen the public sphere – it is working.

The Manifesto lays the ideological foundation for a counter-power to the next Canadian government

The corporate media have presented the Leap Manifesto as either a threat to the New Democratic Party, or a project of its supporters. It is neither. It is a non-partisan document that has won support from a wide-range of people and organizations, those despairing of all that is going unsaid in this election and those moved by historic potential of the moment we live in. Its use will be to build a counter-power to the next Canadian government. If it can gather a large number of signatories and momentum behind it, it can help build the kind of pressure that will compel changes to national policy on the most fundamental matters.

The Leap Manifesto will create space for debate, extending the range of policy options, forcing open the door to inclusive democratic decision making

The Leap Manifesto is an attempt to wrench open the debate, the policy options, the range of political possibility. That’s how change happens: in fact, it’s the only way it ever has.

A powerful movement in Canada, animated by a compelling and positive vision for the climate and economy, can force the hand of whichever government comes to power in October. Even if the entire political class has forgotten this, Canadians haven’t.

SEE ALSO

The Manifesto’s 15 demands

  1. The leap must begin by respecting the inherent rights and title of the original caretakers of this land, starting by fully implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
  2. The latest research shows we could get 100% of our electricity from renewable resources within two decades; by 2050 we could have a 100% clean economy. We demand that this shift begin now.
  3. No new infrastructure projects that lock us into increased extraction decades into the future. The new iron law of energy development must be: if you wouldn’t want it in your backyard, then it doesn’t belong in anyone’s backyard.
  4. The time for energy democracy has come: wherever possible, communities should collectively control new clean energy systems. Indigenous Peoples and others on the frontlines of polluting industrial activity should be first to receive public support for their own clean energy projects.
  5. We want a universal program to build and retrofit energy efficient housing, ensuring that the lowest income communities will benefit first.
  6. We want high-speed rail powered by just renewables and affordable public transit to unite every community in this country – in place of more cars, pipelines and exploding trains that endanger and divide us.
  7. We want training and resources for workers in carbon-intensive jobs, ensuring they are fully able to participate in the clean energy economy.
  8. We need to invest in our decaying public infrastructure so that it can withstand increasingly frequent extreme weather events.
  9. We must develop a more localized and ecologically-based agricultural system to reduce reliance on fossil fuels, absorb shocks in the global supply – and produce healthier and more affordable food for everyone.
  10. We call for an end to all trade deals that interfere with our attempts to rebuild local economies, regulate corporations and stop damaging extractive projects.
  11. We demand immigration status and full protection for all workers. Canadians can begin to rebalance the scales of climate justice by welcoming refugees and migrants seeking safety and a better life.
  12. We must expand those sectors that are already low-carbon: caregiving, teaching, social work, the arts and public-interest media. A national childcare program is long past due.
  13. Since so much of the labour of caretaking – whether of people or the planet – is currently unpaid and often performed by women, we call for a vigorous debate about the introduction of a universal basic annual income.
  14. We declare that “austerity” is a fossilized form of thinking that has become a threat to life on earth. The money we need to pay for this great transformation is available — we just need the right policies to release it. An end to fossil fuel subsidies. Financial transaction taxes. Increased resource royalties. Higher income taxes on corporations and wealthy people. A progressive carbon tax. Cuts to military spending.
  15. We must work swiftly towards a system in which every vote counts and corporate money is removed from political campaigns.

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Standing ovation for Naomi Klein’s tour de force presentation in Australia — VIDEO — posted September 10, 2015 — “…we have so many crises in front of us that we actually can’t afford the time to fix them sequentially. At this late stage baby steps won’t do. Steps in the right direction won’t do. What we need to do is leap to the next economy, to the next system now.”

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