By: Clement Nocos
(Full disclosure, I was one of the nearly 2000 delegates in Montreal this weekend for the party’s first policy convention since Jack Layton’s passing in 2011. Pardon the partisanship.)
I would like to briefly point out to readers something that has irked me this past weekend regarding the NDP’s position on the values and principles it is supposed to be basing its policies and goals off of. Headlines such as ‘NDP votes to take ‘socialism’ out of party constitution’, ‘NDP tempers historical socialist rhetoric by adopting new mission statement’, and most other titles have gone on to paint a divisive narrative in the party.
Much of the ink spilled regarding the ‘abandonment of socialism’ by the NDP is in reference to the preamble of the party constitution that sets the parameters of policy. Often described as a mission statement, the preamble is described as having not made any mention of socialism and that the party has now drifted rightward for a chance at forming government in 2015.
But many arguments against the NDP and its ‘abandonment of socialism’ have formed for many people who are now reacting across the Internet without ever having actually read the preamble. So is socialism missing from the preamble? Well, read on:
By: Chris Burke
In the wake of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s death Prime Minister Stephen Harper made some reactionary, although predictable, comments. The Prime Minister commented saying, “I hope the people of Venezuela can now build for themselves a better, brighter future based on the principles of freedom, democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights”, implying that the situation in Venezuela was dark and not one of freedom and democracy (Source). Those who actually value evidence, and know better than to accept the word of a state pinning for the interests of Western imperialism should stop to examine what Chavez actually did for Venezuela.
First, Harper suggests that Venezuelans were not living in a democracy under Chavez. A funny thing considering that Chavez “submitted himself to fourteen national votes winning” 13 out of 14. Votes that were considered to be very fair by outside observers. They were deemed “the best in the world” by Jimmy Carter, “out of the ninety-two elections that he has monitored” (Source). By what standard is Harper, and other reactionaries, judging the democratic nature of Venezuela?
By: Chris Burke
First, let me start by saying that the exchange I have been having with Martin Pharand over the past couple of weeks has been welcome. This is exactly the sort of dialogue that The 1837 Society has been trying to generate over the past few months. Although I have strong ideological differences with Martin, his continued participation on this blog is appreciated.
Martin is a bit like myself, great ideas come to him in the shower. He had a sudden realization one day while in the shower leading him to suggest that he and I are arguing for the same ultimate end but support different methods of achieving that end. This is not the first time I have heard such a statement. Sometime ago I was involved in exchange with someone who identified as a libertarian. This person made the argument that the communist goal of eliminating the state was really the same thing as the libertarian goal of eliminating government influence in our lives. Since Martin isn’t advocating for a libertarian society, I won’t address that argument here. It just serves as an interesting side note even if I do disagree with what this individual was arguing. Also Martin later admits that we aren’t really working towards the same end.