Janine Solanki: MAWO against civil war at home and abroad
Janine Solanki is chairperson of Mobilization Against War and Occupation. She wrote this in response to a recent Georgia Straight article carrying the headline "Cope on verge of civil war".
By Janine Solanki
First, Mobilization Against War and Occupation is an antiwar, anti-occupation coalition. Therefore, MAWO could not possibly take any position on COPE, a Vancouver civic political party.
If our members and organizers are members of COPE or participate in COPE activities, basically that is their own business and has nothing to do with MAWO as an antiwar coalition. For instance, I am a member of COPE and participate in COPE meetings, not consistently though. I know many MAWO members are not members of COPE and I know that we have not once discussed COPE in our general meetings.
Second, it seems this has become a political habit in Vancouver for some groups or individuals to smear MAWO to get ahead of their opponents. This is extremely disrespectful to the most active antiwar coalition in Canada, to be used by some politically desperate groups and individuals as a political bogeyman.
Nevertheless, I must say this is very childish and simplistic for some people like Kim Hearty to claim that secret MAWO members are the cause of ongoing political problems in COPE. Whoever is slightly familiar with COPE's internal political dynamics knows that COPE's internal political differences and infighting go beyond recent disputes in COPE. All recent COPE executive resignations and party-switching are based on serious political differences and alliances. What could the place of MAWO really be in all of this?
Third, COPE is a popular progressive grassroots civic political party in Vancouver. Obviously, it is a mirror of the society that it operates in.
It is very natural that differences and different views on issues in Vancouver are reflected in the COPE membership and leadership. Personally, I see these differences of opinion as very positive and an important way of making progress. However, it requires mature, strong, and honest leadership and leaders to recognize this reality and turn it into a positive experience, party expansion, and consolidation. In today's situation, having a strong and united party is vital for COPE to pose itself as a serious contender to Vision, which especially enjoys the support of developers and the upper middle class.
My advice to Hearty is to stop using rumours and gossip as a political tool for settling political differences. She and her allies in COPE have become a small minority (as we have seen that all resolutions they put forward for adoption in recent months have not been passed by the voting membership). Let's be clear that accusations and fear mongering are not a justified method of moving from a minority to a majority position.
Hearty must explain why in a time that Vancouver is suffering from poverty, a lack of social housing, homelessness, gentrification, a lack of dignified services for seniors and youth, a lack of sufficient services for immigrants and refugees, the catastrophic situation of services for the indigenous community, the lack of an adequate and affordable transit system, the ill-functioning park board, school board, and city council, she and her allies are launching a power struggle without a clear and comprehensive platform against Tim Louis, a popular leader of COPE who enjoys the support of the majority of COPE members for his progressive platform.
If Hearty and her allies have a focused and clear platform and the leadership to defeat Vision in the coming Vancouver civic election in October 2014, why do they need to smear MAWO and spread fear mongering in COPE?