All across the world there is growing momentum in the fight against neo-liberalism and austerity. Socialist and traditional Social Democratic ideas are gaining strength after 25 years in the wilderness. It’s time to harness this energy and give this voice a new beginning in the traditional party of the Canadian left, the NDP.
New Democrats have much to be proud of. Without ever forming government on the federal level, our presence in collaboration with labour and social movements, has forced the establishment of the modern welfare state. It was the trade unions that first won same sex spousal benefits. Small but determined social movements organized successfully for a women’s right to choose. The anti war movement was able to halt an overt Canadian presence in the second Iraq war. The NDP turned the tide with public opinion against the draconian LiberalTory C51 and other oppressive policies, facing people of colour such as carding or inequities facing transgendered people. The NDP was the first party in English Canada to recognize Quebec as a nation and to actively fight for a nation to nation relationship with First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.
For two consecutive elections the NDP has been an electoral force for government. But we have a tendency to stall in the hour of need. Our leadership has a mistaken strategy of trying to win friends on Bay St, even at the cost of our natural allies, the labour and social justice movements. 2015 proved that no matter how far the NDP gravitates to the centre, we still receive the scorn of the capitalist press. Bay St. and the media barons will never accept the NDP as a “progressive” capitalist alternative to the two old line parties, like war criminal Tony Blair’s defunct New Labour project. In order to protect their wealth, the upper classes will resist by all means at their disposal, the running of the state by a party based on the trade unions with roots in socialism and social democracy. A dipper PM would have to be accountable to the trade unions and the NDP rank and file, not exactly the most reliable friends of neo-liberalism.
To win, we must have momentum. This means rebuilding our party as a social movement. The so-called contradiction of unemployed workers in the oil sands, Green and indigenous resistance to pipelines, need not be. A conscious social democratic economic plan, with public ownership of our natural resources can ensure bread and roses for all. A socialist NDP policy based on economic democracy – utilizing Canada’s collective wealth and resources democratically controlled by the majority – can expand Canada’s socialized health care, to a system of socialized housing, jobs and for education for all.
Our party and movement needs to build in workplaces and marginalized communities. The NDP needs to be a party of workers and shop stewards, not just a party based on national and provincial union presidents; a party of radical youth campaigning against environmental destitution, not just the NGOs. We have to strive to be a party with a collective leadership, not a party leadership based on consulting firms.
Join our fight for a better world. Together we have an unstoppable momentum.