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Rethinking the ‘NDP Orientation,’ 1973-1975
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Our Tasks in the
New Democratic Party Today (1974)

LSA/LSO Internal Information Bulletin, Vol. 2, No. 2 January 1974

Introductory Note

This bulletin contains the report presented to the Central Committee plenum by John Steele, on behalf of the Political Committee. It was the second report from the Political Committee on the question of the New Democratic Party presented to the plenum. Following discussion, it was adopted by a vote of 26 to 0.

A. Introduction
B. Building a Class Struggle Opposition
C. The Waffle Experience
D. The NDP after the Waffle
E. The Federal NDP Convention
F. The NDP in Government — the B.C. Experience
G. The B.C. NDP Women's Rights Committee
H. The Debate over the Women's Ministry Demand
I. The Present Situation and Our Tasks

A. Introduction

The purpose of this report is to pull together some of our more recent experiences in the New Democratic Party, to assess their meaning, to try to get a clearer picture of what is happening to the NDP at this time and, through the recommendations in the report and the discussion to follow, arrive at some general guidelines for the work of our movement in the NDP in the period ahead.

The framework for this report is the summary statement of our longstanding approach to the New Democratic Party that is contained in the political resolution adopted at our last convention (reprinted in The NDP — The Marxist View) and restated and clarified by Comrade Gary Porter in his report to this plenum.

A full exchange of opinions and experiences by the comrades here on our NDP work in various areas of the country will aid us greatly in making our intervention into this political formation a more effective, more precise and more correct one.

B. Building a Class-Struggle Opposition

We are fighting to build a broad, class struggle opposition in the New Democratic Party. What does this mean? Sometimes it is referred to as a class struggle current or a class-struggle left wing. It means intervening inside the NDP to win forces to key aspects of our program, in opposition to the reformist perspectives of the right-wing leadership of the NDP and labor movement. Through such intervention we seek to widen our influence in the workers movement and to win cadres to our organization, the nucleus of the mass revolutionary party.

To put it another way, it means taking our transitional program into the class struggle as it is reflected inside the NDP, and counterposing that program to the bourgeois-reformist program of the NDP leadership. It means fighting the Social-Democratic misleadership of the working class on their own territory, whether they are in the government, or simply aspiring to form the government.

It means striving to generalize and transform every impulse in the class struggle of the workers to go beyond reformism toward revolutionary mass action, into a conscious and decisive break with Social Democracy.

Around what issues, what structural forms, can class struggle opposition in the NDP be built? Any attempt to define precise answers to these questions for an extended period of time would only imprison us in rigid and inaccurate schemas. The process by which layers of the working class and its allies are radicalized and set in motion against the ruling class is uneven. And so inevitably is the reflection of the class struggle within the labor party.

Our experience indicates that the development of left-wing formations within the NDP does not correspond exactly with the pace of the radicalization. Throughout most of the 1960s, a period of developing radicalization among student youth in particular, there was little activity in the NDP ranks, few openings in the party for the revolutionary socialists to get a hearing for their ideas among broad layers of the party membership. Then the developing crisis of perspective of the initial organizations of the "new left" student radicals, and the desire of many radicals to link up with the organized working class (in the aftermath of May '68) found a certain response in the development of the "Waffle" caucus. Today, while the radicalization continues to deepen, and finds expression through increasing labor militancy, we do not yet see a corresponding development of a mass labor-based left wing in the NDP. There is no organized broad left wing current in the NDP today. The contradiction between rank-and-file militancy in the labor movement and the conservatism of the NDP leadership will find expression in the NDP. When, and how it will find expression remains to be seen.

Because the effects of the radicalization and the deepening class struggle proceed unevenly in the NDP, we have to be flexible in deciding what we do in the NDP at any given time. In all our very different fields of work — the trade union movement, our teachers struggle experience in Ontario, the building of mass-oriented campaigns such as those for abortion law repeal, Morgentaler defense, or the defense of victims of repression in Chile, or our election campaigns and our day-to-day propaganda and agitation — we direct the radicalization towards the NDP, in order to concretize the concept of independent working class political action and to stimulate a programmatic confrontation with the Social Democratic NDP leadership.

Our regular fraction work, conducted in pace with the activity of the party itself, has been intensified during election campaigns and in conventions of the NDP, both provincial and federal. And in keeping with the opportunities as we have seen them at any particular time, we have constructed or participated in a variety of vehicles for struggle within the party: from caucuses around a single issue to those expressing the interests of a whole sector of the radicalization in motion, such as the women's caucuses; to caucuses dealing with a range of class struggle questions.

But no matter what forms our intervention has taken or will take, its essence is the mobilization of NDP members and supporters in struggle around key democratic and transitional demands reflecting their objective needs, counterposed to the class collaborationist program of their Social Democratic leadership.

C. The Waffle Experience

The possibilities for radicalizing layers of society to meet with a positive response in the New Democratic Party, were demonstrated by the development of the Waffle movement in the NDP. From its emergence we analyzed the Waffle as a response in the NDP to the youth radicalization.

It was the incorporation in its program of a number of central class struggle demands, however much they were obscured by a clutter of nationalist and left-reformist illusions, which was the Waffle's strength. Measured in terms of organizational and political influence, it reached its zenith in posing a challenge to the party leadership in Jim Laxer's contest against David Lewis for the federal NDP leadership at the 1971 convention. Laxer received 37 percent of the votes in the final ballot against Lewis.

The most fundamental reason for the Waffle's vulnerability and eventual breakup inside the NDP was that the youth radicalization which sparked it and provided its shock troops occurred prior to a radicalization in the labor movement of the scope required to shake the power base of the leadership.

The right wing leadership was aided in its witchhunt of the Waffle by the latter's, inability, as a no more than left reformist current, to formulate a comprehensive strategy for fighting the right reformist leadership of the party. Ultimately, the Waffle split down the middle, its major force dissipating, when the main part of the Waffle leadership deserted the struggle inside the NDP in search of an ill-fated shortcut to the working class through the nationalist Movement for an Independent Socialist Canada (MISC).

If these elements had come to recognize that the NDP did not correspond to the kind of party needed to realize their political objectives, they had nonetheless not been won to the revolutionary socialist program. We continue to face a big challenge to win to our organization the best of these elements, those who are capable of finding their way to the program of class struggle and recognition of the necessity of a revolutionary party on the Bolshevik model.

We put forward the "stay and fight" perspective at the August 1972 Ontario Waffle conference — a perspective maintained in our press up to and following the recent abandonment of the NDP by the Saskatchewan Waffle. We explain that work within the NDP itself, where the question of the leadership of the class will be sharply posed for a whole period, is a vital and necessary part of the struggle of socialists against the Social Democratic bureaucracy at the head of the Canadian working class.

D. The NDP after the Waffle

The Waffle split from the NDP in Ontario and Saskatchewan and its nearly complete disintegration in other parts of the country, introduced a period that has been characterized in general by a downturn of struggles within the party. A whole layer of militants, demoralized by the Waffle’s incapacity to fight the leadership of the NDP, dropped into relative inactivity, wandering between the NDP and the Waffle. Many have reintegrated however reluctantly into the party mainstream, while others gravitate to the ultraleft. In this situation the NDP leadership has firmly consolidated its control over the NDP politically and organizationally. Recently through articles in the party press and public forums, they have attempted to give a theoretical veneer to their bankrupt social democratic ideology.

Other elements previously in the leadership of the Waffle, but pushed towards revolutionary socialist conclusions in the course of the struggle, likewise gave up the struggle within the NDP, not by leaving outright, but by adopting sectarian and ultraleft tactics precluding any possibility of their being an effective force for the construction of a class struggle current in the NDP.

This development was reflected in the sectarian degeneration of the Left Caucus which had emerged in Ontario in the struggle, against the split course of the Waffle leadership.

The struggle which unfolded in the Left Caucus after the Waffle's exit pitted the League, defending the initially established perspective of the Left Caucus as a non-exclusionary vehicle for struggle within the party, on key policy issues, against the Red Circle-Old Mole, who used their control over the Toronto Left Caucus steering committee to impose their own sectarian conceptions on the caucus.

While the intervention of our comrades into the May 1973 Left Caucus conference blocked the caucus from formally adopting the sectarian perspective of what had now become the Revolutionary Marxist Group (RMG), it was not able to undo the damage already done to the caucus by the unilateral actions of the sectarians.

The erosion of the initial broad support for the caucus led it to become essentially reduced to members of our movement, the RMG, the Lambertiste Labor Action Committee and a handful of non-affiliated militants. This isolation was reinforced by the general situation in the Ontario NDP — the relative passivity of the thousands of NDP members who had fought the leadership’s witchhunt of the Waffle prior to the capitulation of the Waffle leadership. Reduced to a sectarian shell, the Ontario Left Caucus was unable to constitute an effective vehicle for the development of a class struggle [alternative] in the period following the Left Caucus conference, including the July 1973 Federal NDP convention.

E. The Federal NDP Convention

In contrast to the 1971 federal NDP convention which centered around the Waffle challenge to the Lewis leadership, the 1973 convention took place in the wake of the crushing or defection of organized left wing formations within the party.

The leadership approached the convention with an eye to getting the party to ratify its "make parliament work" policy of collaboration with the Liberals in the federal parliament. This class-collaborationist policy; of "balance of powerism" is geared to presenting the NDP as the responsible left partner of the Liberal government. This tactic is disastrous. It breaks with the drive to bring the NDP to power, reinforces illusions in the Liberal party, and cuts across the concept of independent labor political action.

The NDP caucus's open collaboration with the Liberals has produced a certain unease within the party ranks, some of which was evident in the federal convention among a layer of delegates.

The problem facing our movement going into the convention was how to direct this unease, this questioning, and the hostility to the leadership left over from its purge of the Waffle left wing — how to give it a struggle perspective against the class-collaborationist program of the leadership.

It would have been a serious error to envisage centering our intervention in the federal convention around the now unviable Ontario Left Caucus.

The task of our movement in this situation was to accurately assess what the issues were, to give leadership in the struggle around them and in this way begin to pose the class struggle alternative to the Lewis leadership.

The major opening for our perspective came through the development of a broad feminist caucus, called on our initiative through the British Columbia NDP Women's Rights Committee, an official committee of the party. This caucus mobilized in important struggles that brought it into sharp conflict with the federal leadership, and resulted in important victories.

A large part of the success of this radical formation at the federal convention was its adoption under our leadership of the defense of Dr. Morgentaler. This campaign poses sharply the need for the NDP to mobilize against the government and the abortion law. This effort gave the Morgentaler defense a big impetus on a cross-country scale.

The caucus adopted the perspective of organizing women in the NDP across the country and set up a loose steering committee to carry this out.

Having carried a successful struggle against an opposition formation of considerable influence — the Waffle — the Lewis, leadership was now faced with the possibility of another formation, reflecting one of the deepest areas of radicalization, led in part this time by revolutionary socialists rather than left reformists.

The activity of the women's caucus helped open the door to the development of another formation under our initiative — "Delegates for socialist policies". Both formations together involved approximately 150 persons out of the 1800 that attended the convention.

The call for the formation of the caucus signed by more than 40 delegates with a good cross-country representation, outlined the need for socialist policies, noted the party leadership's failure to pose such policies, and argued that socialists in the party must organize to fight for them.

"This convention," stated the appeal, "must signal a turn in the direction of the NDP — away from obsession with parliamentary maneuvering toward active participation in and leadership of the extraparliamentary mass movement around a program of far-reaching measures that strengthen the independent power of the working people and undermine the power of the big corporations."

Delegates from this caucus spoke in every major policy debate counterposing the class struggle program and perspective to the leadership's class collaborationist program. A key issue around which the caucus gathered broad support was the question of nationalization of resource industries. The caucus was able to make this one of the major debates of the convention, circulating a statement signed by prominent New Democrats. The hard core voting strength of the left varied between ten and twenty percent on policy resolutions. The caucus candidates received fifteen to thirty percent of the votes for federal council positions. At the conclusion of the convention the caucus discussed the possibility of continuing work, exchanged mailing lists but set up no formal structures.

What we accomplished

Combined with these two interventions our movement carried out a large scale circulation of our press and literature, selling 380 copies of Labor Challenge, 170 Young Socialists, 24 copies of International Socialist Review containing resolutions from our April convention, $300.00 of Pathfinder literature. Comrades also solicited and got sponsors for the Ligue Communiste defense, defense of the expelled and excluded YSers in Ontario, distributed a Vanguard Forum leaflet, aided the Morgentaler Defense in selling 400 pamphlets and 350 buttons, the CWC in selling 350 copies of Spokeswoman, and the Vietnam Action Committee in distributing 100 leaflets.

Twenty-five comrades attended the convention as delegates, in addition to a full mobilization of the Vancouver branch. This was the largest number of Trotskyists ever to become delegates to an NDP convention, in part because of the vacuum left by the Waffle split.

What did we accomplish?

(1) We were able to help deepen the impact of the feminist radicalization in the NDP by mobilizing women around clear-cut demands, expressing their needs, aimed against the ruling class and challenging the anti-feminist class collaborationist program of the leadership.

(2) We were able to pose to a significant layer of militants in the party not only the correctness of "staying and fighting" as a long-range strategy, but also the concrete possibilities for organizing struggles on key issues, under present circumstances, within the NDP today.

(3) We were able to reach a large number of activists in the NDP with our ideas either on the floor of the convention or with our literature.

(4) In this way we were able to establish more roots in the NDP and pose comrades as leaders of a current in opposition to the leadership. This was an all the more impressive achievement in a situation where the leadership in fact was further consolidating its bureaucratic grip on the party as a whole, and receiving massive support for its class collaborationist course.

The role of our movement contrasted sharply with the paralysis of the other tendencies. The Lambertistes, afraid of expulsions, kept under cover for the most part, even failing to sell their press. The Workers League, with no delegates, simply sold their paper. The Stalinists hid behind a Kraft Boycott table. The Waffle leadership did not appear. The Canadian Liberation Movement failed to turn up. CPCML (Maoist), handed out a sectarian sheet. The Revolutionary Marxist Group did their best to abstain from the real struggles. One of their major interventions in the caucus was to attempt to impose their view that nationalization without compensation was a principle and the dividing line between reformists and socialists. They presented a woman candidate for president of the party in an utterly sectarian manner — not consulting the women's caucus, and misusing the name of the defunct Ontario Left Caucus to support the candidacy. Old Mole, their newspaper was in no way addressed to the convention. On the convention floor they substituted denunciations of the leadership for political debate. They (accurately) foresaw that the NDP leadership would support anti-labor legislation in the coming railway strike. The problem was that this single issue so mesmerized them that they were led away from intervening effectively on other issues which could and did mobilize rank-and-file delegate support against the leadership, such as nationalization of resource industries.

The general thread running through the activities of all our opponents was sectarian abstention from the real struggles that took place at the 1973 federal convention.

F. The NDP in Government – the B.C. Experience

The experience at the federal NDP convention helped prepare our movement for its big experience with an NDP government in British Columbia — a province with a large working class and labor movement and a rooted and sizeable branch of our organization.

The defeat of the big business Social Credit government and the election of an NDP government in August 1972 aroused widespread expectations of far-reaching reforms among broad layers of the B.C. population, based on their illusion that the new government headed by David Barrett was somehow fundamentally different from the discredited Bennett Socred regime. These profound expectations provided revolutionary Marxists with important possibilities to initiate and lead mass struggles that could mobilize the ranks of NDP supporters against the reformist leadership, now responsible for managing the B.C. provincial section of the Canadian bourgeois state. The key issues would be determined by what the NDP's rank-and-file constituency considered to be the most burning questions before the province's working people — including, in this case, the struggle of the labor movement against a vicious web of anti-labor legislation, and far-reaching demands by women for child-care, enforcement of equal pay laws, an end to discrimination against women in the work force, and full abortion rights and facilities. In every instance, revolutionary socialists would encourage and further the independent mobilization of the working class, to undermine its confidence in the government, while at the same time helping the workers learn in the course of their experiences that they must rely only on their own mobilized strength.

The election of an NDP government raised the struggle against the reformist leadership to a higher level. It meant that henceforth many militant struggles against the bosses and their state would directly confront the reformist leadership of the NDP, now responsible for administering an important component of that state. It opened up qualitatively new opportunities for us to drive home the point, through the experiences, the struggles of the working people themselves, that the interests of the bureaucratic leadership of the class are fundamentally different from those of the class itself. It allowed us to deepen the contradiction between the procapitalist leadership of the NDP, and the labor base of the party. This contradiction is not overlooked by the bourgeois press — for example the Vancouver Province recently stated in an editorial referring to the NDP government's reluctance to accede to trade unionists' demands to change its proposed labor code, that "in our system, when a party becomes a government, it undergoes a subtle change. In effect it is no longer a party, but the people's government... Government and party are not synonymous in our system."

Above all, we were aided by our longstanding appreciation of the necessity to formulate our demands in such a way as to drive directly against the class enemy, catching the reformist apologists and agents for the bourgeoisie in the crossfire. This understanding meant that we were prepared to perform all sorts of maneuvers, to form all sorts of (temporary) alliances, so long as we operated around a consistent class-struggle program and perspective.

Although the NDP government has been in office barely 16 months, the LSA/LSO has already had an important and instructive experience in a number of confrontations with it — in particular in the fight around Bill 11, the new labor code, and the struggle to get the government to act on women's rights. Both struggles involve rich tactical lessons for our movement as it goes through the experience of these governments with millions of workers.

Our April Political Resolution outlined some useful guidelines for our work in the NDP under these conditions. It put it this way:

"Where the NDP is in office...we are challenged to seek ways to relate the radicalizing mass movements to the NDP, to challenge the NDP government to support and implement their demands. As we expressed it in the August 1971 plenum report: '...we must pay particular attention in the next period to the development of campaigns and demands that advance our concept of a workers and farmers government — a government that carries out decisively anti-capitalist measures, against the caretaker concept of government upheld by the Schreyers and Blakeneys (and we might now add, the Barretts).

"...Where the NDP is in office, we must seek to mobilize broad campaigns and actions encompassing rank and file forces from the party and the trade unions aimed at the NDP cabinet; initial steps would include campaigns for the new government to implement the more radical aspects of the NDP program which usually comprises some far-reaching demands adopted by the rank and file in convention."

LSA plays a key role

With this general approach our movement played a key role in the first phase of a very significant struggle against the NDP government's restrictive labor code, culminating in the decision of the NDP convention in November to demand the government change the bill in line with NDP policy.

One of the main planks in the NDP election campaign was repeal of the Social Credit anti-labor legislation. Following the election, the government, through Labor Minister King, stalled on the question despite criticism from the leadership of the B.C. Federation of Labor. Comrades on the official NDP bodies moved into this situation to demand that the government act immediately.

Through the Burrard constituency Labor Committee — a riding committee with a representative on the NDP standing Policy Committee on Labor — we played a vital role in setting up, in January 1973, an Ad Hoc Committee for the Repeal of Anti-Labor Laws. The committee was open to New Democrats in the Vancouver area and unionists in affiliated unions. It was composed of about 30 activists from the area.

Protests against government inaction on the legislation reached a high point in the spring. The ad hoc committee succeeded in holding a widely publicized meeting of 150 persons demanding the government act. On two different occasions we got the NDP provincial council to demand the government repeal the laws. The uproar dissipated when the government promised its new legislation for the fall.

In preparation for the legislation the ad hoc committee circulated a statement called "Take the Shackles off Labor" which outlined the record of the Barrett government. It stated that the working people could not rely on governmental machinery, courts, judges, ministers and ministries, boards and so on to guarantee their rights.

The new legislation, introduced October 1, while revoking some of the worst features of the old Social Credit labor laws (e.g. Bill 33 and the Mediation Commission), introduced many new measures providing for government interference in the unions, including new restrictions on the right to strike and picket and sweeping powers allocated to a revamped Labor Relations Board.

When the legislation was introduced, the B.C. Federation of Labor leadership reacted strongly, demanding changes that would eliminate the major restrictive features. But while their criticism of the bill was essentially correct, they proposed no activity in support of these demands that did not go beyond legislative lobbying by the trade union staffers.

We intervened and a strongly worded resolution was adopted by four constituencies calling for changes in the bill in line with NDP policy, support to the Federation campaign, a campaign of mass action to force the government to act, and an organized fight at the November NDP convention.

The Federation convention backed the Federation leadership's opposition to many features of the Bill. At the same time the Federation leaders made it clear they did not intend to wage an all-out fight against the NDP government on this issue. It was clear to us, however, that around Bill 11, there were possibilities to mobilize NDPers in struggle against the NDP cabinet around a clear programmatic point — the class-collaborationist labor policy of the government.

This was concretely posed when the NDP's standing Policy Committee on Labor drew up a resolution for the NDP convention which, while not as complete as the resolution passed in the ridings on our initiative, contained much of the same content — change the law in line with NDP policy and support for workers struggling for their rights.

Around this resolution a caucus of about 45 people was organized. "Delegates for the Labor Policy Committee Resolution" spearheaded the fight for the resolution at the convention. The line of this caucus was expressed by its candidate for party president, Ed Livingston, who said in his election speech, "We want the government elected by us to quit holding hands with big business and take decisive action in the interests of the working people of British Columbia." He got 30 percent of the vote.

The government attempted to defend its position with a combination of threats against the Federation for its promise to defy restrictive legislation, and appeals to loyalty to the "people's" government which had replaced the hated Socreds.

But — after much debate, the convention adopted the resolution by a narrow majority (322-290). This vote was a very important initial victory for the working class in B.C. The caucus would not have been organized to carry this fight, nor would the fight have been won, without our intervention.

The question of government "accountability"

The Labor Code becomes law early this year. But the groundwork has been laid for the mobilization of workers in B.C. against the Barrett government on this critical question. Our work against the Bill puts us in a strategic position to become deeply involved in such a development when it occurs.

In this situation our movement stuck hard and fast to its main aim of mobilizing the ranks in struggle around key programmatic points. The task was to give the unease of the ranks concerning, the role and character of the government programmatic content. This unease was crystallized in the widespread demand that the cabinet be "accountable" to the party; that it implement NDP policy. A number of resolutions along these lines were submitted to the convention. There were some moves for caucus formations around these concepts.

When reformist working class parties take office, it is inevitable that the initial breach between the bureaucratic leadership and the ranks will find expression in the demand that the government be "accountable" to the party rank-and-file. British Columbia experience has been no exception. But to realize the progressive kernel in such sentiments, and avoid mistaken liberal concepts that what is needed are mere structural changes that can transform the government into a people's government, more "accessible" to the masses, it is necessary for the revolutionary Marxists to concretize it in demands for specific actions by the government consistent with our program. We did this around the Bill 11 struggle, which provided the clearest expression to date of the essential conflict between the Barrett ministry, which in the last analysis upholds bourgeois rule, and the interests of the rank and file of the working class organization he leads.

It would have been an error for us to have set up, at this time, a multi-issue left or socialist caucus. The movement made some initial probes along these lines with modest results. But the key struggle was Bill 11; to have brought in other issues at that time would have limited our ability to mobilize New Democrats in opposition to the cabinet.

The RMG gave a good example of a sectarian error. They stood outside the entire struggle and contributed nothing to it. In order to separate themselves from the position of the organized labor movement they adopted the demand, Repeal Bill 11, counterposing it to the Federation's demand, Change Bill 11 (to meet the Federation's criticisms and proposals). In the real context of the struggle, repeal was an incorrect demand. It ignored the fact that Bill 11 abolished the hated Socred legislation. The generally correct proposals of the Federation pointed in the direction of freeing the trade unions from the interference of the capitalist state. They provided the best basis for launching the struggle against the government's action.

The RMG’s sectarian position took them outside the whole movement to demand that the government change the bill. They refused to participate in the caucus around the Labor Policy Committee resolution.

Our leadership in this fight is well known in the NDP. Combined with our other work at the convention, the women's caucus, Chile defense, Morgentaler, literature and press sales, leaflet distributions, the 600 delegates to the convention were not only able to read our ideas but go into action with them on the floor of the convention against their leadership.

G. The B.C. NDP Women's Rights Committee

The deepening feminist radicalization has affected the NDP. Feminists have begun to organize in the NDP to force the party to adopt feminist demands and to fight for them. From the beginning we have played a big role in this development.

We participated in organizing women to fight for their rights at the last federal NDP convention, as described earlier in this report. We are now going through experiences in women's rights caucuses in Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and B C.

This report will deal with the B.C. experience at length for two reasons:

1) It has been the biggest experience to date. We participated in the B.C. NDP Standing Committee on Women's Rights for the more than two years that it has existed, and gone through big experiences with it.

2) We have much to learn from the B.C. experience because the existence of the NDP government adds a new dimension to the struggle. Our experiences in mobilizing women to demand that this government respond to the needs of women in B.C. can be instructive for the situations in Manitoba and Alberta where we now have opportunities to go through some of these experiences.

We apply our revolutionary strategy for women's liberation to the NDP as well as to other areas. This strategy consists of reaching out to women with demands that meet their real needs and drawing them into struggle for these demands independent of and against the ruling class. We know that in the process of this struggle women gain more political understanding of the forces they are up against and the type of struggle necessary to overcome them. They will gain more confidence in themselves, in their ability to struggle and win gains.

In the NDP we seek to organize women on the basis of their common oppression to fight for concrete demands. We don't see the organization of women in the NDP as a closed club, a discussion group, but rather we put forward a mass action strategy for feminists in the NDP.

The organization of women in the NDP can become an important part of the feminist movement. The struggle of women in the NDP for feminist demands can have an impact on the broader class struggle and in breaking the class from reformism. We have already had a small preview of this in our experience to date.

The feminist ferment in B.C. has been fed by the great hopes many women had surrounding the election of an NDP government. After so many years of hostility to women's rights by the Socred government, many believed that the NDP government would act on their behalf. The B.C. NDP's official program, adopted in conventions as a result of pressure from the feminist movement, included many important demands such as 24 hour child care, the right to abortion, an end to restrictions on union organizing, etc.

Many feminists campaigned for the NDP in the 1972 elections which saw the NDP sweep the Socreds out. One prominent feminist — Rosemary Brown — was even elected. But it soon became clear that the new NDP government had no more intention of implementing feminist demands than the previous government did.

Its inaction and outright hostility provoked an angry response in feminists and, since Barrett was openly defying party policy, also throughout the ranks of the NDP.

Feminists submitted hundreds of briefs to the government hoping to change its mind. The recent NDP Caucus Commission on Priorities for Women revealed the extent of this activity. I don't think any other government has received such a barrage of criticism and proposals from feminists.

For example, the first feminist action against the government took place in February 1973. A group of parents frustrated by the government's inaction on their demands occupied a government day care information center and appealed for support from women's liberation groups, the NDP and the unions.

Much of this feminist ferment has centred around the NDP women's rights committee, an official party body. The committee has organized tours, conferences, and publishes a regular newsletter, Priorities, with wide circulation. The response it has received revealed a broad rise of feminist consciousness in all areas of the province.

The women's rights committee has served to voice many demands of the feminist movement, and to bring pressure to bear on the government. At the same time it has been itself subject to the pressure of the Barrett government. One current in the committee has bent to this pressure. This current has discouraged or opposed mass actions, or broad campaigns around programmatic demands, initiatives which might "embarrass" or "antagonize" the government. For our part, we have pressed the committee to mobilize women in struggle against present government policy.

What is really involved in this debate is two radically different strategies for the committee; one, to force the government to meet the needs of women, and the other, to force feminists to adapt to the character of the government. These conflicting lines explain why the record of the committee has been uneven throughout the year and a half; and particularly over the last six months as the opposing directions became more sharply posed. Given the need to bring the full pressure of the feminist movement to bear on the government and the important role the NDP committee had to play in this, we pushed for the NDP women's rights committee to organize a women's conference open to all women inside and outside the party to discuss how to get the government to act. We succeeded in getting such a conference called for September 8, 1973.

Although the conference was poorly publicized and posed as a conference to simply find out what women want so that the women's rights committee could convey this in private session with the NDP caucus, more than 150 women from over 30 organizations throughout B.C. came to the conference. Their dissatisfaction with the government enabled us to transform the conference. The 150 women marched down to the provincial council meeting with banners and signs and confronted Barrett with their demands for child care, the right to abortion, an end to sexism and discrimination in education, job discrimination, an end to the anti-labor legislation and for a Ministry of women's rights. The conference also unanimously adopted a resolution to call a further conference to discuss establishing an "action coalition" to enable the many groups to unite further in actions directed at the government.

This conference marked a turning point for the women's rights committee. It made clear to the government that this committee could become a real threat. Immediately tremendous pressure was put on the committee to reverse its course. The right-wing in the committee, led by the chairwoman Melodie Corrigall and the main leader of the committee, Sharon Yandle, launched a full scale campaign to bring about this reversal.

They proposed that the committee should limit its proposals to the November '73 provincial convention to concentrate on a number of structural proposals to the government and party, omitting the need to press for legislation on specific demands. They wrote the motion for the action coalition out of the record, denying that they had ever heard of such a motion. They denied that the theme of the September 8 conference was to get the government to "Act now on women's rights". They launched a full-scale redbaiting attack in the committee against the "LSA women," passing a motion that members of the women's committee could not express any differences with any NDP women's planks outside the committee. This redbaiting attack had as its main purpose the blocking of a discussion of program in the committee — a discussion which was long overdue. Even more, it blocked the turn of the women's committee towards a mass action strategy.

As one of the women put it in the witch-hunt meeting, "The NDP caucus has said 'it's either kick out the Trots or squelch the women's committee.’" Another effect of the red-baiting was to finger our comrades for the brass. A few weeks after the meeting Wendy Stevenson received a letter from Hans Brown, the provincial secretary, refusing her membership.

The experience of the federal convention and the September 8 demonstration had proved to the government that the committee was getting out of hand, so they demanded a show of loyalty. But it appears Barrett didn't have to twist the arms of the Yandle-Corrigal clique too hard. As early as the July federal convention they were nervous about our influence in the committee as Yandle frankly said in the discussion of the so-called "problem of the male-dominated LSA women."

The main structural proposal that they sought to unite the committee around for the provincial convention was the women's ministry. They argued that the ministry was a necessary first step that it was useless to talk about childcare., etc. — these demands might as well wait because without a ministry they wouldn't be implemented. With a ministry, women would have "real power" they said.

We of course argued against this both in the committee and in Labor Challenge. The September 10 article by Jacquie Henderson noted that the only real power women have is through independent mobilization to force the government to grant their demands. We said the structure had to be secondary to the program, not take priority over it. We pointed to the September 8 action as the way forward.

We were defeated on this. Leading up to the provincial convention the themes of the September 8 conference — action on child care, abortion, the anti-labor legislation — were all subordinated to the ministry, and two other structural proposals. In fact the biggest question became how to get elected to the provincial executive. Many concessions to the leadership had to be granted for leaders of the women's committee to get elected.

These problems were all expressed at the convention itself. The Women's Rights Committee produced a button saying "I'm for a Ministry of Women's Rights," which it sold aggressively. Unlike past conventions the committee's literature table did not include a variety of women's rights literature. It just featured the ministry pamphlet and Priorities. Resolutions were submitted on the ministry.

Yet despite such energetic preparations, the women's ministry question was not raised on the floor of the convention at all. No meeting of the women's rights committee or caucus meeting decided not to raise it for vote. Corrigall and Yandle made the decision themselves. They were afraid if it came to the floor, it would be debated and possibly defeated. Besides, they now had bigger fish to fry.

The convention only allotted 30 minutes to women's rights — something that would have been vigorously fought in the past. But the right-wing leaders of the women's committee were not oriented to carrying such struggles, or to pushing the positions of the committee. It was our initiative, and that of the day care forces, which succeeded in getting a day care resolution on the floor. We did not succeed in bringing to the floor a resolution on Morgentaler.

The orientation of the committee's right-wing leaders was to the elections to the provincial executive, and in their minds, this precluded a political challenge of the party brass. Yandle, Corrigall, and three other women's committee members were elected to the provincial executive.

We intervened in the caucus meetings in the convention and did much contact work with the many women upset by the course of the committee. We sold our press with the article "Make Barrett Apply Women's Program" and carried a struggle to get child care and Morgentaler resolutions on the floor of the convention. We also sold 75 copies of the LSA brief to the government commission on priorities for women — which outlines our transitional strategy and program.

While we didn't succeed in reversing the direction of the committee, we made some real progress. Many women began to get a little worried about the maneuvers, compromises and capitulations which characterized the bid of the Yandle-Corrigall clique's attempt to win election to the party leadership.

Immediately following the convention, the government commission held a hearing. Almost a hundred women went and voiced their dissatisfaction with the government.

The struggle in the women's committee continues. We are now trying to get the committee to move into the child care fight and the fight for the right to abortion. Much of our efforts in this respect are centered in these areas outside the NDP committee, which in turn puts pressure on the committee. As well we are demanding that the committee mobilize to block Wendy Stevenson's expulsion.

At the last women's committee meeting Yandle, the new chairwoman of the committee, moved that a sub-committee draft the text of a bill for a ministry of women's rights. That is what some of the committee members are now busying themselves with.

H. The Debate over the Women's Ministry Demand

In this part of the report I want to take up the criticism of our approach raised by the Labor Party Tendency in their document, "The Subversion of our NDP Orientation."

The document objects to the September 10, 1973 Labor Challenge article "Women's Ministry — debate in the B.C. NDP. Diversion for feminists." It says that this article is an attack that "can only appear to be essentially unprincipled, dogmatic, sectarian and factional, besides being a quite unintelligible attack..." (p. 19) It argues for supporting the demand for a women's ministry on the grounds that this demand "expresses the objective needs of the class, it flows out of their present level of consciousness and takes them forward in struggle..." (p. 21) The LPT claims that in not supporting this demand we are dumping the line spelled out by the 1971 LSA/LSO plenum. The leadership's stand is thus a prime example of its supposed "break with our NDP orientation."

Comrade Ross Dowson has said in this plenum that the ministry question was not discussed in the Political Committee. What are the facts?

When the resolution calling for a ministry was passed at the B.C. NDP convention in the fall of 1972, we were not only uncritical of it, we supported it. That's very clear in the account of the convention, in the December 11, 1972 issue of Labor Challenge. But it wasn't long before some comrades, thinking more carefully about the implications of the demand, and in the light of our experience in the women's rights struggle against the B.C. government, began to question the demand.

Last spring the leading comrades in Vancouver and the editorial board of Labor Challenge began a discussion of the women's ministry demand, in preparation for an article. We all felt that there were serious problems with it. The demand did not have programmatic content. Labor Challenge had previously tried to insert this content into the demand for a ministry, in an article printed in the February 5, 1973 issue. This only made matters worse, because it made it sound as if we thought the ministry was the way to achieve these demands. The discussion was extended, and was expanded to include leading Political Committee members not on the editorial board. Most PC members felt that Labor Challenge’s stand had been incorrect; Comrade Ross argued for the contrary view.

The publication of the pamphlet "The Case for a Ministry of Women's Rights" in early July by the NDP women's committee aided the discussion. It printed in black and white the motivation for the demand, as expressed by the leaders of the women's committee.

The Political Committee discussed the question at its July 7 meeting, and took a position on the women's ministry demand, a position which is expressed in the September 10 Labor Challenge article by Jacquie Henderson. The Vancouver branch also discussed the PC's position and adopted it on September 5.

What were some of the reasons which convinced us that the demand was incorrect? It is true that the vote for the ministry motion at the 1972 B.C.NDP convention expressed the delegates' healthy distrust of the leadership, and their insistence that there be concrete action for women's rights.

Barrett's hostility to the demand was due to his fear not of a ministry itself but of the independent feminist movement. He was, and is, determined not to give an inch to the women's movement unless he is forced to. As we put it in the September 10 article:

"Premier Barrett told reporters at the time of the convention that his government would make establishment of such a ministry a 'low priority'. His statement has become famous as a symbol of the government's contemptuous rejection of the broad program of legislation for women's rights proposed by the convention."

Nevertheless, the support of militant feminists for the ministry, and Barrett's rejection of it, does not mean that the demand itself is automatically correct. In the struggles that arise in the party between the brass and the members, for membership control of government policy, we aim to focus the battle around demands which express correctly the class interests of the workers and their allies. This raises the question — what is the content of the demand for the ministry?

The LPT says it "expresses the objective needs of the class." If that is the case, then it certainly is a demand that we want to put forward. But the LPT does not say how it expresses this need. Nowhere in their document do they attempt to explain what is the positive class content of the demand.

What the pamphlet says

Comrade Dowson and the LPT ask how we can say that the ideas of the pamphlet divert women from the independent struggle for their rights.

The pamphlet presents the demand for the women's ministry as the central demand of the women's movement on the NDP government. It does not link this demand to the achievement of concrete gains; it does not pose the ministry as simply a means of implementing victories won through mass struggle and mass pressure. Rather it presents the ministry as a precondition for such victories and as the means of achieving them.

The LPT cannot see any grounds for criticizing Yandle’s article. Well, what does her article say? Yandle affirms that women need a ministry because they need power, and the ministry will get them power. She says, "It is a very important means of stimulating and encouraging women to break through the barriers that confine them to a socially inferior status by giving them the power — the finances, the resources, and the authority — to start breaking those barriers down ... what the ministry can do is provide women with the tools to begin the systematic elimination of the root causes of oppression."

That's the passage quoted in the September 10 article. Does the LPT think that Yandle is right? Her statement is wrong. Dead wrong. Setting up the women's ministry as proposed by Yandle, will not give women "power" or "authority" or the "tools" to begin to eliminate the causes of their oppression. To think that this can be done through a new ministry is purest reformism.

The position of our movement as expressed in the September 10 Labor Challenge article is that women can only "get power" — "the finances, the resources, and the authority" through independent struggle against the ruling class — through the concrete concessions they win, and ultimately through the workers government which must be their final goal. Yandle & Co.'s view is counterposed to this. It miseducates and misleads feminists, by suggesting that such a modest proposal for structural change in the government can produce profound social reforms. In practice we have seen how this reformist line has been counterposed to our class struggle strategy for the NDP women's committee and how it has led the committee away from the struggle for women's rights against the government.

Labor Challenge points out that the resolution did not demand that the government enact any new legislation, it did not demand a ministry any different from those already in existence, and it projected a ministry integrated into the governmental framework. In quoting this passage, the LPT comrades interject a series of indignant "sic"s. But they don’t explain where the LC analysis is wrong. It stands as a simple and correct presentation of what the resolution really said.

In the first part of Yandle's article, she explains a series of socialist concepts about the roots of women's oppression in the capitalist system, the need to change this system. In this part of the article Yandle uses the term "structural solution" as a kind of pseudonym for a fundamental change to a socialist society.

The Labor Challenge article summarized these and other correct ideas put forward by Yandle and Corrigall in the pamphlet. The LPT critique ignores this part of the Labor Challenge article, and summarizes these generally correct ideas in the first part of Yandle's article once more — at considerably greater length.

But Yandle's article continues, in its second part, to present the women's ministry as a "structural solution" — that is, as an instrument for carrying out the kind of fundamental social change that she described. She calls this ministry "a means to begin the task of breaking down the structural inequality that women face," providing women with the tools to begin the systematic elimination of the root causes of oppression.

This is where Yandle goes wrong and that is what Labor Challenge criticized in her position. The LPT critique says nothing at all about this aspect of the articles by Yandle and Labor Challenge. The are silent on the very question which is in dispute.

It is true that in introducing her main point Yandle says some correct things. But does this mean we should ignore the purpose she puts these to — to justify her reformist strategy for the feminist movement? We should not be so easily misled, simply because some reformists, under the impact of the radicalization, choose today to surround their essential reformist concepts with radical phraseology.

"Structural solutions"

The LPT claims that Yandle is merely expressing our strategy; as outlined in a section of the 1971 plenum report. But the 1971 report made it clear that our intervention with respect to NDP governments was not to be expressed in demands for structural solutions, but rather around demands for concrete measures consistent with our program of transitional and democratic demands. This is what Yandle ignores with her strategy of focusing the women's rights struggle around the demand for a ministry, a "structural solution."

The 1971 plenum report explains, for, instance, that these governments should be pressed to make the hospitals which are under their jurisdiction perform abortions and set up abortion clinics.

Here is another example. The B.C. NDP government sent a letter to the federal government telling it to reverse its decision to recognize the Chile junta. We demanded that it not just send this letter, which we welcomed, but that it actively campaign for this demand and also campaign to open Canada's doors to the refugees. The prestige and resources of the government would give great aid to defending the victims of the coup.

We are not against making structural demands, when what is involved is the implementation of concrete measures involving the objective needs of the working class and its allies. For example, if the NDP government in British Columbia had just passed legislation providing for 24-hour childcare free to all who need it throughout the province, as the B.C. NDP program promises it will do, we would most certainly have something to say on how that measure should be implemented — for example, demands for user control that include "structural" proposals. But our "structural proposals" would all be in the framework of increasing the independent strength of the women's and workers' movement, not undermining it. But this example is only hypothetical at present. The Barrett government has not legislated any women's rights measures — not on child care, not on abortion, not on education, not on job discrimination, or anything else. The problem is not one of a lack of structures to implement a vast government program of women's rights legislation. The problem is that there is no such program of concrete legislation.

Any structural proposals we advocate are designed to facilitate the implementation of measures in the interest of the oppressed. They are designed to bring out the programmatic content of such measures, and not as a substitute for the measures or the struggle to achieve them. They must also pose the independence of the working class vis-a-vis the state, not simple modifications or reinforcement of the bourgeois state apparatus.

In this specific instance, the women's ministry demand lacks programmatic content. It simply proposes structural modifications in the bourgeois state. In no way does it pose the independence of the mass movement, its mobilization against the bourgeois state. It is quite conceivable in fact that a ministry, once established, could backfire against the feminist movement. With its administration over vast sums of money in the government budget, it could easily be used by the reformists as a means of interfering in the independent women's movement, allocating funds to relatively conservative organizations to bolster them against more militant groups.

We have never demanded a ministry of labor in the federal government, as a step towards overcoming the exploitation of workers. We would not raise this demand, even if the federal government were headed by David Lewis and the proposed minister of labor were a former worker. We do not demand that Trudeau establish a "ministry of Native Indian rights" in the federal government in order to "provide Natives with the tools to begin the systematic elimination of the root causes of their oppression." Not even if Trudeau finds a Native willing to serve as his minister. Governmental structures could be agencies for liberation if we had a workers government. But the B.C. government is bourgeois — that is, it ultimately serves the class interests of the bourgeoisie and defends the capitalist order. Its structures will not serve the cause of our liberation — no, not even when the Social Democrats are in office.

Labor Challenge opposed the idea that campaigning for women's rights should focus on a structural change in the government apparatus — a new ministry — rather than focusing on the struggle for concrete demands which we want the government to implement. Such an idea, we said, fostered the illusion that somehow the ministry could be a tool against the government to ensure that the demands of women were met.

Such an illusion is dangerous because the NDP government is bourgeois. It is administering the B.C. section of the Canadian state, not dismantling it. The demand for a ministry of women's rights poses the possibility of women achieving their demands through structural changes in the bourgeois state apparatus. This is a total violation of the Marxist theory of the state.

We have seen through our experience in B.C. how the whole strategy behind the women's ministry struggle has cut against the independence of the B.C. NDP women's rights committee from the Barrett government and the struggle perspective of the committee.

To the reformist strategy of Yandle we counterpose our revolutionary strategy. Ross Dowson and the LPT don't comment on this. Labor Challenge explained well how we did this in the September 8 NDP women's conference, but Comrade Dowson and the LPT don't comment on that article. Nor do they comment on the article we put into the provincial convention this November, "Make Barrett Apply Women's Program," in the November 5 Labor Challenge. The last five paragraphs in this article sum up our views.

The LPT and Comrade Dowson say that the Labor Challenge article on the ministry pamphlet erred in introducing the question of the need for revolution, not merely reforms of the state apparatus, to achieve women's liberation. They say this question is irrelevant to the debate.

They say that nothing in the articles suggest that Yandle and Corrigall believe "that the structuring of the new socialist society can take place on some progressive piecemeal basis of restructuring the old capitalist apparatus. If they hold this view it is by no means clear from their written words in the pamphlet under review." (pg 21)

But it is very clear from the parts of the Yandle article quoted earlier, and from many other passages we have not bothered to quote, that this is precisely their view. Corrigall echoes that this ministry is the way to achieve "real power" for women.

The LPT raises the question — has the demand for the women's ministry proved a diversion in life? The answer to that question is very clear. It has. It is obvious that future articles in Labor Challenge will be able to discuss this further from the angle of our concrete experience.

The LPT ends its case by saying we shouldn't worry about creating illusions in the state by supporting the ministry demand. They argue that we are often accused of promoting illusions in the NDP because we give it critical support. The illusions are already there, they point out. There are illusions in the state — that shouldn't prevent us from putting demands on the government.

Well, we are not worried about what we are accused of doing. What is of concern is what we are actually doing. We give critical support to the NDP as a labor party, against the capitalist parties, but we express no political confidence in the leadership of that party. We defend an NDP government against the attacks of the bourgeoisie, because we understand that the bourgeoisie is attacking the working class through its attacks on that government. But we defend that government through our own independent proletarian methods of struggle, without expressing the least political confidence in that government. And we continually place demands on an NDP government to meet the real needs of the class, and attempt to mobilize the working class and its allies in struggle against it for these demands.

I. The Present Situation and Our Tasks

What is the present situation in the NDP? Our work over the past months has given us a better idea of what is going on. While membership and union affiliation have not grown significantly, the NDP's position as the government of three provinces and its position in the federal parliament have given it a considerably strengthened weight in Canadian political life.

The turn towards the NDP by the teachers movement in Ontario is strong evidence of the ability of the NDP to attract newly radicalizing workers. The break-off of about a thousand persons that constitute the Waffle in Ontario and Saskatchewan does not seem to have had a major effect on the NDP as a whole.

The leadership of the NDP is in firm control of the party with no serious internal divisions. When push came to shove, the leadership as a whole united behind the purge against the Waffle.

There is presently no organized broad left-wing current within the party either of reformist or class struggle orientation. With the exception of the struggle against anti-labor legislation in British Columbia and the feminist forces at various stages of development within the party across the country, there is little visible motion within the NDP at this time.

While the situation varies from province to province, the constituency organizations of the party are generally inactive.

There is a certain unease in the party at the role of the federal caucus in parliament — expressed for example, in the widely-publicized letter from Toronto Riverdale riding executive stating dissatisfaction with the federal caucus's support to the Liberals. Comrades in Winnipeg report that some unease with the provincial government's inaction was evident in the party ranks at the recent convention of the Manitoba NDP.

Such restlessness is widely dispersed and unorganized. Certainly the development of a large cross-country left wing current is not imminent.

But the recent experiences in British Columbia are a solid indication of the impact that developing class struggles can have and will have on the NDP. In Ontario the emergence of a militant teachers movement will provide new openings for us in our NDP work. The NDP leaders have been quick to support the teachers' struggle against strike-breaking legislation. Many teachers in turn look to the NDP in the process of breaking from the capitalist parties. Our influence in this movement will permit us to play an important role in the teachers' impact on the NDP.

Further developments in the class struggle will provide us with big opportunities to deepen our influence among masses of working people who are struggling against capitalism and who in the process of their struggle are bound to confront the barrier posed by the NDP leadership and program.

How can we best take advantage of the situation as it is now? How much emphasis should we place on our work in the NDP at this time? Certainly it would be an error for us, on the basis of our knowledge that big struggles will occur in the NDP at some future point, to make any dramatic shifts in the assignment of comrades to this area at the expense of the deployment of our forces in more immediately fruitful areas of work.

The branches have to work out the extent of their intervention in the NDP so as to best take advantage of the resources of the branch and maximize our flexibility. For example, in Vancouver a younger layer of comrades has moved into positions of prominence in the NDP through the work of the branch over the past year. While this has strengthened our intervention into the NDP, the number of comrades whose major assignment is in this area of work remains at a little over a third of the branch.

Similarly, our capacity to capitalize on the decision of the women's caucus at the federal convention to organize women in the NDP across the country is limited by the situation in each area and the state of our own forces, our own priorities in building the LSA/LSO. In general, while keeping in touch with whatever developments there are we have found that it is not possible for us to initiate and lead in the formation of a cross-country women's committee in the NDP on a continuing basis with permanent structures.

It is necessary of course that all comrades who can obtain membership do so, keep them up to date, and maintain at least minimal contact with their NDP constituency associations or their union political action committees.

It is not possible to predict what course the radicalization will take as it comes up against the NDP and trade union leadership. What we are most concerned with is the struggle — not the structure — the struggle and the demands around which these struggles take place. We are trying to popularize an anti-capitalist program and proletarian methods of struggle.

For example, it would be an error to say, "Well, the Socialist Caucus was good for us between 1965 and 1969, therefore this is the way to do it now." The evidence is to the contrary.

It was for this reason that at the federal convention we did not set up a structured permanent caucus.

Our guidelines for work in the NDP have to be set not on the basis of schematic projections, but on the basis of our concrete experience and the situation we face in the NDP today, in the context of our general appreciation of the place of the NDP in the radicalization. With this in mind we can trace the outlines of our work in the following way:

  1. We will be working within the feminist movement in the NDP, attempting to give it a non-exclusionist action perspective as part of the feminist movement as a whole. We may be involved in a struggle against the NDP leadership over the character and control of the NDP cross-Canada women's conference slated for June at Port Elgin, Ontario.

  2. In British Columbia we will be continuing the campaign against the Bill 11 labor code both inside the NDP and in the trade union movement. In Ontario and no doubt in other areas we will be involved in struggles flowing from the radicalization of teachers and other government workers, as well as the reflection of this process inside the NDP.

  3. We will work to unite the socialist left in the NDP, bring it together in struggle against the leadership. We project the need for a broad class struggle opposition. We seize opportunities to launch formations or caucuses with this character. The federal convention is a good example of doing what is possible in this direction.

  4. On one issue or another, whether the energy crisis, inflation, or unemployment, we will have many opportunities to raise our program against that of the NDP leadership. We may have the opportunity to do this in a coming federal election. We will have openings in the Alberta NDP convention slated for March and the Ontario NDP convention slated for May. We want to find ways to raise these questions at the upcoming convention of the Canadian Labor Congress slated for April in Vancouver.

  5. Through intervention in ongoing struggles such as the grape boycott, which is supported by the NDP in most areas (with the notable exception of British Columbia) we can come in contact with NDP militants open to our views.

  6. We want to deepen the involvement of the NDP in the defense of Dr. Morgentaler and the defense of political prisoners in Latin America. We must seize every opportunity to intervene in the party in an educational way in an effort to reverse the party's pro-Zionist position on the Middle East.

  7. A consistent effort must be made to get our theory into the hands of radicalizing elements in and around the NDP. Above all, this means systematic sales of each issue of Labor Challenge, as well as sales of Pathfinder literature. It means getting our pamphlet, the only one giving the Marxist view on the NDP, into the hands of as many NDP militants as possible. It means popularizing and getting interested persons down to our forums. It means fighting attempts by the NDP leadership to exclude us or anyone else, as we have done in the case of the comrades in Ontario. It means continuing the full coverage Labor Challenge has been giving to developments in and around the NDP, so that the many persons in formations like the Waffle or elsewhere have a source of information and analysis on the NDP.

  8. Above all we have the responsibility to ground our movement and those coming to us in the radicalization, in the fundamental class struggle principles that are the foundation blocks of our tactical approach to the NDP. Effective polemics against our opponents on the errors they will make on this question can only be within this framework. Tactical skill and flexibility is useless without such a grounding in the basics.

This is how our movement will most effectively be able to take on reformism in this country at this time. It will not be done by sectarian abstention from the struggle, RMG or Waffle style. It won't be done by imposing schematic and artificial formulas on the actual processes at work.

It will only be done by giving uncompromising, politically clear leadership to the struggles we know are on the agenda.

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