Grassroots Resolutions and Party Democracy: The 2021 NDP Convention

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Grassroots Resolutions and Party Democracy: The 2021 NDP Convention

Bruce Kecskes

In so far as participating in bourgeois democracy remains a component of socialist strategy in Canada, voters on the Left are largely limited electorally to the New Democratic Party (NDP). As with many western socialist and social democratic parties, however, the federal NDP has been following a steady course of neoliberalization over the past decades. The party’s commitment to the workers’ movement and its own foundational labour-centred principles have been jettisoned in favour of a far more moderate political project.

The central drift of the NDP has yielded a party that broadly prefers means-testing to universalism, prioritizes the votes... of marginal left-leaning Liberals over socialists and labour, and has seemingly abandoned any serious efforts to bring marginalized non-voters into the political process through bold mobilizing policies.

Even as Canada’s ostensible left party has become the ‘left Liberals’ (in the vein of the ‘Third Way’ that took hold of social democracy in the 1990s), socialist voters are severely limited in their search for other options. This past fall, there was a brief hope that the Green Party might develop into a viable socialist alternative to the NDP, as eco-socialist Dimitri Lascaris launched a credible bid for the party leadership, but, unfortunately, he was defeated by centrist candidate Annamie Paul. Given the absence of left electoral alternatives, there is no lack of debate about whether the NDP can ever be shaped into a useful vehicle for the left, either organizationally or electorally.

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