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NDP federal convention 2013: Socialism or austerity?

austerity failingAs delegates gather in Montreal for the federal New Democratic Party’s first policy convention since the death of Jack Layton, they face some important choices. After Thomas Mulcair assumed leadership of the party, all sights are set on defeating the Stephen Harper Conservatives in the 2015 federal election. This convention sets the stage for how that fight will be won or lost, and what kind of government will the NDP form if it gains power.

 

NDP constitution: Defend Social Ownership, Defend Socialism

people not profitThe Constitution Committee of the federal NDP has proposed a rewrite of the preamble to the party’s constitution. The new wording is supposedly a compromise, after the right-wing of the party was defeated in 2011 when it tried to remove all references to socialism. However, this new amendment is no compromise at all and marks a significant turn to the right. “Socialism” is relegated to the past in a tokenistic fashion. Most notably, sections on social ownership are removed and replaced with the primacy of the market. This is a bitter irony, precisely when “the market” is showing its abject failure globally, and in Canada. Removal of the defence of social ownership also opens up the party to supporting the privatization of public services. Delegates must reject this rightward shift.

 

Saskatchewan NDP looks to re-build in leadership race

saskatchewan ndp logoOn March 9, Saskatchewan New Democrats will vote to elect their next leader. Whichever candidate ends up taking the reins will face an uphill battle to restore the provincial party’s fortunes. Far from the glory days of Tommy Douglas, the Saskatchewan NDP now finds itself in electoral dire straits, winning a paltry nine seats in the 2011 provincial election. Although the worst effects of the capitalist crisis may not be immediately evident in Saskatchewan, the province’s working class has not been immune from attack. We need a party, and a leadership, that isn’t afraid to answer that age-old question: “Which side are you on?”

 

One year after Jack Layton's death

Today marks one year since former NDP leader Jack Layton passed away.  We are re-publishing our obituary to Jack, which covers his accomplishments while not sugar-coating his errors.  Oliver Cromwell once directed his portrait artist, "Paint me as I am -- warts and all!"  We believe that to truly honour Jack's legacy, we have to continue the struggle for a hopeful, optimistic, and socialist world.

Ontario NDP convention: Divisions emerge over Ontario austerity budget

The Ontario New Democratic Party (ONDP) held its biennial convention in mid-April at the Hamilton Convention Centre. The conference of about 1,000 New Democratic delegates was held in the shadow of the Ontario provincial budget which, even before the meeting began, was already becoming a source of tension between various factions within the party. Party leader Andrea Horwath has been under enormous pressure from the press and from big business to vote in favour of the austerity budget being presented by Dalton McGuinty’s Liberal minority government.

After Mulcair's victory, build a mass left wing to save the NDP

Thomas Mulcair, the former Quebec Liberal and so-called “modernizer”, has been elected leader of the federal New Democratic Party. He gained 57% of the vote on the fourth and final ballot, defeating six other candidates in the process. Many in the party fear that he will take the same route as former British Labour leader Tony Blair. However, this will not be easy for him. There is little enthusiasm for Mulcair in the party and only 50% of the membership found a reason to vote for any of the candidates. The reality is that there were very few ideas discussed in the campaign and Mulcair’s victory was no way inevitable. A genuinely left-wing candidate could have galvanized the rank-and-file and defeated this turn to the right.

NDP leadership election: Fightback’s voting recommendations

At the start of the seven-month-long NDP leadership campaign, we appealed to the candidates to adopt socialist demands such as free education, free universal childcare, and a massive program of public works to end unemployment. We explained that any candidate that championed the cause of socialism in the NDP would receive a massive boost of enthusiasm from the ranks of the party, and especially the youth inside and outside the party. Below, we detail our voting recommendations for our readers, supporters, and those who support socialism in the NDP.

A socialist guide to the NDP leadership race

Nine candidates have thrown their hat into the ring to replace Jack Layton. Robert Chisholm, Nathan Cullen, Paul Dewar, Thomas Mulcair, Peggy Nash, Romeo Saganash, Brian Topp, Martin Singh, and Niki Ashton are all in the race. This large field presents a challenge to workers and youth who look to the party when trying to decide how to cast their ballot. In this article, we will try to go over the candidates to help inform that choice and point a way forward for the NDP.

Remembering Jack Layton's legacy: Let's continue the struggle!

On 22nd August, New Democrats woke to discover that we had lost our Party leader, Jack Layton. Now we are seeing a huge outpouring of emotion amongst party activists and the wider working class. This is because in these times of crisis and austerity, Jack Layton was seen to represent something different. He represented a path towards social justice and away from the race to the bottom. Hope and optimism were Jack’s watchwords and this is exactly what workers and youth are looking for right now. Fightback salutes the passing of a fighter who will be missed by millions.

What social forces led to the NDP wave in Quebec?

For twenty years, the Bloc Quebecois dominated federal politics in Quebec. As in provincial politics, the national question loomed large over all other concerns, and this seemed a permanent feature of the reality in the province. The NDP attempted to establish a foothold here, beginning with the election of Thomas Mulcair in Outremont in 2008. The mainstream pundits and analysts were convinced that the NDP was fooling itself in the province, and nothing would change. But in this election everything did change, suddenly, and all the old assumptions have been turned on their heads.