TORONTO - People instinctively look for structure where they can be validated through their contribution and work towards both individual and collective goals with the aid and assistance of others.
Their efforts are cumulative. They take on shape, forms and rules. These transcend time and movable standards; and, serve as reference points, measuring sticks, against which to determine progress or regression. Individual dignity and worth are assessed in the context of that ”shape, structure … or party”.
“Movements” tend to be by-products of one individual’s sense of the world. They are emotive and reliant on the “charisma” of its princi- pal and guiding personality.
Good or bad, everyone else is merely a “part of the herd”, a drinker of kool aid” – hangers on – there for the moment. Movements are ephemeral by nature. Rarely do they end well.
When and if they do, they are filed as exceptions rather than the rule. In the main, they spawn tribalism, racism, division and violence. Look at the impact in modern history of charismatic-type “movements” which generated the likes of Hitler, Mao Zedong, Ho Chi Min, the Khemer Rouge, Stalin etc., or fueled them.
Yet, contemporary political leaders continually associate with the term “movement” to convey a sense of greater import for what they do. La Pen, in France; Salvini, in Italy; Farange, in England: Erdogan, in Turkey; and closer to home, Trump and Trudeau.
Both of the latter two have lost key elements of their inner circle – Ministers – who were essential icons, testaments to the “vision” the leader wanted to project for the “movement”. Moreover, in of themselves those “ministers” reflected the “trust factor” that, in the public’s view, differentiates the leader from simple charlatans.
Unlike Trump, who had to convince the Party he absorbed that he is actually a real deal, Trudeau inherited a political structure whose survival in the past was guaranteed by ideas, programmes and competent managerial styles. Yes, there were di.culties.
The public knew how to punish and seek retribution, but there was never a question of the organizational values whose compendium was/is the foundation of a structure inviting adherence, participation and loyalty. “Movements” provide none of the three. They are merely “flavour of the week” whose tasters dissipate like snow in the warm Spring air. Yet, Trudeau started his meeting/ rally on the Danforth, Monday night, with a harkening to “our movement”.
Everyone else was awaiting an act of contrition an outline of measures he was taking to “clean house” and a call to arms in defense of his Party’s values and accomplishments. How ironic; his MPs collected on stage had a look of disinterest or were busy texting or retweeting snippets of videos.
Contrast that with the experience of the PD in Italy, on Sunday, when more than 1.6 million Party members left their homes to cast a ballot for their new Party Secretary-General. The PD, only two years ago, was led by a promising, energetic, ebullient, competent, young leader who lost the confidence of his Party and the public.
Is the PD a party experiencing a revival after the trouncing it received in last year’s election? Trudeau should examine the parallels before he and his Party (not movement) su er the fate being lived by the Five Star Movement in Italy – interest has waned; it is disappearing.