Saturday, July 19, 2008

Gerald Caplan Speaks

The NDP would be wise to listen. I especially like the last few paragraphs:
Ever since the Regina Manifesto, many CCF/NDPers have cherished the fantasy that it was only a matter of time until we formed a government. But since our share of the national vote has varied from 8 per cent to 20 per cent, that hope has always been a delusion. For me, being an influential opposition party has justified our existence. Having moral authority, as during the War Measures Act, sufficed. Can we truly say this is the case today?

In 1933, serious socialists created the CCF and issued the Regina Manifesto. In 2008, serious socialists need to re-examine the raison d'ĂȘtre of the "New" Democratic Party. Instead of playing arcane parliamentary games and manoeuvring to replace the Liberals, the NDP needs to restore the "New" in its name and its ideas. We need to prove that being a perennial minority party is not a wasted exercise.

We honour our predecessors by seeking a renewed socialism, borrowing from successful left-wing parties in Europe and Latin America. Norwegians accept an egalitarian social contract involving high taxes, superb services and unparalleled productivity. Canadians yearn for such services but refuse to countenance the costs or take steps to improve our productivity. It is time to make the risky political move of telling them they can't have it all. There are no utopias.
Stop trying to replace the Liberals. Come up with true socialist policies and use the bully pulpit of Parliament to move the yard sticks in our direction. The party should seek to educate Canadians that there is indeed no free lunch and if they want services they damn well have to pay for them. That is the direction the NDP should be going. Yelling me too after the Liberals is a dead end.
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