Debates: The NDP and the Future of the Left

Debates: The NDP and the Future of the Left

Over the last year or more, we’ve witnessed an upsurge in socialist ideas stimulated by political figures of the reformist left. The Bernie Sanders campaign in the U.S. is an obvious case in point, as is the recent youth-fuelled success of British Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn. The French presidential campaign of Jean-Luc Mélenchon displayed similar dynamics.

These developments have prompted many left-activists in English-speaking Canada to turn their eyes to the New Democratic Party (NDP) in hopes that it too might become a site of socialist radicalization.

Being on the revolutionary left, New Socialists do not believe that the NDP can be the vehicle for an anti-capitalist transformation of society. Its parliamentary politics and bureaucratic structures are inherently de-mobilizing of mass struggle from below. In office, its MPs regularly become managers of neoliberalism. At the same time, we recognize that the NDP is the first political reference point for thousands of left-leaning union activists and members of social movements. For this reason, we are far from indifferent to the politics being promoted inside the NDP. Any success in pushing that party to the left creates wider space for socialist discussion and activism—and this ought to be welcomed.

In light of these considerations, we are inviting activists and organizers from diverse political perspectives within the left to offer their thoughts on where the NDP figures in the renewal of socialist politics in the Canadian state.

We begin with a contribution by Dru Oja Jay and Nav Kaur, both of the Courage group inside the NDP.

The debate continues with a contribution from David Camfield of Solidarity Winnipeg and the Winnipeg New Socialists:

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