QS and the real world

We are going to talk about the left in light of the heartbreaks of Québec solidaire. But I’m going to take a detour through the United States, if I may. As they say in Washington: Follow the guide…




Former Secretary of State and Senator Hillary Clinton was, for some American progressives, too much this and too much that, in any case not enough to the left1 : too warm to war, too close to Wall Street, a false progressive whose convictions brought her closer to Reagan than to Obama.

And there was undoubtedly some truth in all these analyses.

But the presidential candidate’s opponent that year was a disturbing UFO named Donald Trump. No big deal: part of the American progressive intelligentsia shunned Mme Clinton, November 8, 2016. Among Americans who did not vote2Democrats were overrepresented.

A part of the American left imposed a purity test on Democratic candidate Clinton and chose not to support her (by not voting) in the 2016 presidential election.

In an ideal world, these American progressives would have been right to have followed their convictions, their purity remaining intact.

But in the real world, Donald Trump became president of the United States in part because of this left that wanted to be right more than it wanted to win.

Trump governed and appointed three hyper-conservative judges to the Supreme Court of the United States, he uninhibited practices and words that were until then hated in the political life of this democracy, he further benefited the rich and he has normalized a political approach that amounts to fascism… For the left, a nightmare.

My American detour ends. Let’s talk about this idol of the American left – and admired here – who was a Supreme Court justice named Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The second woman appointed to the Supreme Court (by Bill Clinton in 1993), “RBG” embodied a certain idea of ​​progressivism and she was resolutely feminist.

In 2013, President Obama invited her to the White House to gently encourage her to retire.3. Why encourage him to give up his place? Because Mme Ginsburg was old (80 years old) and fragile (she had fought some cancers). And the Democrats had (for a while yet) a majority in the Senate which guaranteed his replacement by one or another equally progressive judge…

But RBG refused to retire, on the grounds that she still loved her work and wanted to break the longevity record of a judge who had served until the age of 90.

In an ideal world, Mme Ginsburg was right: why retire when you can still work, have fun and make a difference? You go, Girl!

In the real world, Mme Ginsburg died in the final moments of Trump’s presidency, which replaced her with a Catholic fundamentalist straight out of Handmaid’s TaleMargaret Atwood’s dystopia which depicts the United States as a Christian dictatorship.

End of this detour to the USA to make some observations on the crisis shaking the Quebec left.

Scene 1: Just elected female co-spokesperson, former MP Émilise Lessard-Therrien slams the door, feeling “invalidated” by GND and those close to her, described as “professionals” in politics . His letter is shot through with magnificent poetry, but very vague about his grievances.

Scene 2: GND reframes the debate: QS must discover pragmatism, become a governing party and lighten its internal operating methods.

Scene 3: Around forty solidarity activists, including ex-candidates and ex-MP Catherine Dorion, respond to Mr. Nadeau-Dubois in a letter of which here is an extract, in reference to the founding DNA of Québec solidaire4 : “The idea was that QS would not come to power by relying solely on the usual political rules, this kind of horse race settled by polls, commentary and the division of the people into electoral clienteles and microtargeting. »

In an ideal world, it is pure and beautiful to hope to win the power carried by – I quote again the letter of the solidarity opposed to GND – “the well mobilized people (…) with a real democratic force which blows in our sails, and finally carry out major transformations”…

It’s movingly lyrical, but it’s a speech disconnected from the real world. In the real world, the CAQ obtained a supermajority with 41% in 2022 and a majority with 37% in 2018.

Where are the people in this?

Flat answer: we don’t care. One day we will have to define what “the people” are. Perhaps the QS National Council could devote a plenary to this at the end of May.

We don’t care, because in the real world, it doesn’t matter if a party manages to form the government by “dividing the people” into “electoral constituencies” which would have been “microtargeted” by messages to the old, to the young, to divorcees with two children, to hunting and fishing enthusiasts, to sovereignists, to semi-sovereignists, to the hearing impaired, to second-generation Quebecers, to federalists who loved Meech, to those in favor of less state or to those nostalgic for René Lévesque , to motorists who want a bridge (or two), to BIXI enthusiasts…

No matter how a party comes to power, when it comes to power, well, it decides for the people.

Look at the CAQ founded six years after QS: François Legault’s party is in its second mandate and is trying to “carry out major transformations” in terms of industrial development, health and social services, regional development, tanks- buses-trams-metro, tenant-owner relationships, energy future, representation abroad and immigration policies…

Meanwhile, the solidarity groups capped at 16% of the popular vote persist on the most magnificent way to take power, with great tests of purity and epistolary flights.

I’ve said it, I’ll say it again: there are no more magnificent losers than those who come from the left.

1. Read the Politico article

2. Check out the Pew Research Center research report

3. Read the article from New York Times (in English, subscription required)

4. Read the letter in response to Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois


reference: www.lapresse.ca

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