On the side of the NDP, we see leaders and pundits adopting pro-business attitudes and a party line that all but mirrors that of the Liberal Party. Paul Summerville, a neo-liberal banker, was chosen by the party leadership to take a high-profile position as the party’s spokesman on economics. Carole James, leader of the British Columbia NDP, announced her intentions to cut ties to “big labour” shortly after being elected leader. In Ontario, the mere mention of former NDP Premier Bob Rae invokes memories of betrayal amongst workers.

The union bureaucracy is no better, as was demonstrated by Buzz Hargrove’s shameful abandonment of the party of labour and endorsement of the Martin Liberals during the last federal election. While the NDP may be criticized for abandoning the labour movement by moving closer to the Liberals, the CAW leadership seems to have beaten them to it.

Neither the NDP nor the CAW bureaucracy lament this split. In fact, the opposite is true. For the CAW administration, they no longer have to make excuses to the bosses about being members of a left-wing party. The NDP leaders can now boast that they are not tied down by links to organized labour. All the while, workers are left high and dry with weakened organizations with even weaker leadership.

What is needed is unity. This split is a sham, a complete betrayal of the working class by its leaders. The rank-and-file deserve far better then to be treated like bargaining chips for a few privileged bureaucrats who are themselves squabbling for mere crumbs from the bosses’ plate. The mass organizations need to be led not by policies of appeasement and collaboration, but by policies of rank-and-file militancy, of socialism, and above all, of solidarity.

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