Canada needs improved, principled left-leaning parties

There are viable political parties in this country for conservatives, liberals, and people who support some socialist half-measures but who choke on the s-word.

What about those of us who don’t see important differences between the trio of capitalist parties? For us there is no real option. In Canada the left opposition is a graveyard of failed start-ups and long-dead umbrella groups. A resurrection of radicalism is overdue. It’s been two years now since the NDP (Canada’s representative to Socialist International) struck all explicit references to socialism from its constitution. Such an overt dash to the middle wasn’t surprising given the party’s wish to govern supersedes any shred of principle it clung to. But, it leaves a gaping hole in Canada’s political spectrum.

The radical left simply doesn’t have a coherent voice in Canada. No convincing entity exists to advance our position that all profit is unpaid wages, that the trade unions and workers syndicates must be resuscitated, and that as long as there is an international working class we must hold solidarity with it. The NDP doesn’t fly our banner — year by year they grow more akin to the Liberals — and they now inhabit a lukewarm spot on the ideological scale, in sure opposition to the Conservative party, but increasingly centrist.

To be sure this gap in Canada’s political spectrum hasn’t always been so empty. There was an era when the old Marxist circles had a pulse and influenced the more organized left, but no longer. The time has come for the Canadian left to admit that the NDP claims unapologetic socialists like Tommy Douglas, Ed Broadbent, and David Lewis, while abandoning the socialist objectives these men called for. Christo Aivalos, writing in Canadian Dimension notes that “socialists are vaunted as individuals and symbols, but only after sanitized of their socialism.”

Anyone can see, the NDP has been more and more prone to capitulation, not only in word but in deed. The party that supports small businesses? The middle class? What kind of socialism is this? There are two classes. One class controls the means of production and uses the capitalist structure to syphon profit from the class labouring for wages. It seems the NDP forgot this long ago.

There must be a party for those of us that haven’t forgotten the words of Eugene V. Debs. Remember that, “(w)hile there is a lower class, I am in it.”

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