Monday, January 01, 2001

The main socialist party in Canada, the New Democratic Party (NDP), has got its shorts in a knot over whether it should fully morph into a British Labour Party clone (and thus taste some of that sweet, sweet political success), or become a real socialist party. The current leadership (if you can call it that) wants to go the wishy-washy route, become friendly to business, and even advocate tax cuts, thus making the NDP indistinguishable from all other mainstream Canadian parties. The history behind this is tied into the relative success of some Canadian labour unions, who have members who are so well paid that they now identify with a pro-business ideology. The union leaders spout the socialist jargon and support the NDP with money and election support, but their members would never dream of voting for the damn commies. Unlike in Britain, however, where the Labour Party has found a mainstream niche for itself based as much as anything on the buffoonery of the Conservative Party (not to mention a lingering 'love' for Margaret Thatcher), any attempt in Canada to head for the political centre will run smack dab into the Canadian Liberal Party (a party which clings, leech-like, to the center of the political spectrum). Why would a leftist party wimp out and try to be like everybody else when young voters and prospective voters are accepting in greater and greater numbers that the real issues are anti-globalism, anti-corporate-control, environmentalism, and so on. This is a rare if not unique turning point where a certain type of progressive idea is entering the mainstream consciousness of young people. The lessons of Prague and Seattle are completely lost on the greybeards who are content to let the NDP sink into mediocrity.