Where is Canadas Socialist Resurgence?

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A Socialist Project e-bulletin ... No. 1822 ... May 10, 2019

Where is Canada’s Socialist Resurgence?

David Bush

Socialism is back, at least south of the border. The popularity of Bernie Sanders, the election of open socialists such as Kshama Sawant, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) and Ilhan Omar, the growth of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and the teacher strike wave across many ‘red states’ are just some of the signs that socialism is on the rise in the United States of America.

The growth of socialism is just one side of the political polarization taking place in the United States. The surge of the far-right and the confidence Trump has empowered racists and reactionaries everywhere is extremely troubling. This dynamic of political polarization is occurring in many advanced capitalist countries such as France, the... UK, Spain and Germany.

In Canada, except for Quebec, this dynamic has been more muted. Political polarization is happening to a certain extent. Economic inequality, which is undergirding the political polarization across the world since the Great Recession, is growing in Canada, but to a lesser degree than in the United States. Political and social institutions have remained comparatively stable in Canada compared to many other countries. For socialists in Canada, outside Quebec, this gulf between a socialist revival in the United States and the marginalization of socialist ideas, action, and organization at home can seem perplexing, even frustrating.

A failure to adequately understand this difference can lead socialists in Canada to look for quick fixes: a rush to find our Sanders, our AOC, our version of the DSA.

So why has socialism in Canada not seen the resurgence it has in the United States? To understand the divergent experience in Canada and the United States it is important to understand the economic conditions, the political factors and the sequence of events that explains why socialism is on the rise in United States, but not in Canada.

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