The bitter twilight of social democracy: NDP, unions and enviro NGOs back transit referendum

Aiyanas Ormond
Leaders of the transit referendum’s “yes” side

One take on the upcoming referendum in Metro Vancouver:

This spring, the provincial government will be asking Metro Vancouver residents if they approve of a new TransLink funding proposal. The social democrats are coming out of the woodwork to throw their weight behind the ‘Yes’ side in the referendum, as though it were some kind of grand cause. In reality, neither a ‘yes’ vote nor a ‘no’ vote will have an impact on the political direction of transit in our region: privatization, criminalization of the poor, racial profiling, and ‘service’ geared to corporate profits rather than people’s needs.

In backing the referendum, provincial NDP, Vision Vancouver, union bureaucrats, middle class environmentalists and the Christian church establishment have also found unity with the main institutional representatives of the ruling class in BC: the Vancouver Board of Trade, the BC Chamber of Commerce, and the Building Owners and Managers Association of BC.

This unholy alliance wants us to vote to slightly increase funding for TransLink, a neoliberal institution that not only works against our interests as working class people, but has actually been on the front lines of containing, criminalizing, incarcerating and deporting the most oppressed and marginalized sectors of our class. What’s the actual political content of this proposition by the social democrats? Let’s take a look.