Let's Stop Kidding Ourselves About the NDP

Diemer, Ulli
Publisher:  Ulli Diemer, Toronto, Canada
Year Published:  1989
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX5291

Canadian socialists are terribly reluctant to give up their illusions about the NDP.

Ulli Diemer writes:

The NDP is and for the foreseeable future will remain an important political force on the Canadian left. While it has never been able to claim the allegiance, or even the votes, of a majority of working class Canadians, it is still seen by many as `the' party for working people.

Perhaps most importantly, the members of the NDP include some of the most decent, most committed, and most militant supporters of progressive change in Canada. Many of them are good people, people we want and need to work with if we are ever to achieve fundamental social change.

What is at issue is not whether to relate to the NDP, but how to relate to the NDP.

What we should emphatically not be doing is joining our efforts to those of the several generations of Canadian activists who have pursued the mirage of trying to "win the NDP to socialism". While there are many good people in the NDP, the NDP as an institution is never going to be converted to socialism. On the contrary, the dead weight of its own political and organizational logic will lead the party to become ever more "moderate", ever more compromised, ever more frustrating to those who join in the hopes of using it to create socialism.

Our collective political energy is limited and precious. Let's not squander it beating our heads against the organizational brick walls of the NDP. And let's not waste it by putting it at the disposal of party bureaucrats who want us as election fodder and to hold riding associations together between elections.

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