Unity Brings Strength

Howard Huggett

Of the three articles on the subject of Labour and the NDP [in the last issue of Canadian Dimension], all of them stimulating and valuable, my preference would be for The NDP, ‘Change’ is not a dirty word by John Fryer. What makes Fryer’s contribution so important is the degree to which he has been objective and critical about the past performance of the NDP itself.

There is one sentence near the end of this article that makes a very important point: “And most important, we must reach out to the people who often feel powerless and sometimes don’t even vote, the ordinary working people so often cited in our rhetoric.”

The other two contributors did not refer to this factor, nor can I recall that any spokesman for either the CCF or the NDP ever touched upon the fact that working people often despair about being unable to effect the changes they would like to see.

The best way to overcome this lack of confidence among working people is to demonstrate to them that they have power when they organize and unite with others. There are lots of ways to prove that organization brings power — strikes, demonstrations, environmental groups, tenants’ organization, etc.

The NDP puts too much emphasis on electioneering and not enough on economic action. People learn how to take political action as they learn other skills, by doing. Voting, after all, is an individual effort and individuals by themselves are weak. They are more likely to cast their ballots of working class parties if they have first learned that unity brings strength. Isn’t there a line from one of the verse for Solidarity Forever that goes something like this: “Nothing else is weaker than the feeble strength of one”?

Published in Canadian Dimension, Volume 23, Number 7, October 1989

Subject Headings