Our aim as democratic
socialists is to build an independent socialist Canada. Our aim as
supporters of the New Democratic Party is to make it a truly
The achievement of
socialism awaits the building of a mass base of socialists, in
factories and offices, on farms and campuses. The development of
socialist consciousness, on which can be built a socialist base,
must be the first priority of the New Democratic Party.
The New Democratic Party
must be seen as the parliamentary wing of a movement dedicated to
fundamental social change. It must be radicalized from within and it
must be radicalized from without.
The most urgent issue for
Canadians is the very survival of Canada. Anxiety is pervasive and
the goal of greater economic independence receives widespread
support. But economic independence without socialism is a sham, and
neither are meaningful without true participatory democracy.
The major threat to
Canadian survival today is American control of the Canadian economy.
The major issue of our times is not national unity but national
survival, and the fundamental threat is external, not internal.
capitalism is the dominant factor shaping Canadian society. In
Canada, American economic control operates throughout the formidable
medium of the multi-national corporation. The Canadian corporate
elite has opted for a junior partnership with these American
enterprises. Canada has been reduced to a resource base and consumer
market within the American Empire.
The American Empire is the
central reality for Canadians. It is an empire characterized by
militarism abroad and racism at home. Canadian resources and
diplomacy have been enlisted in the support of the empire. In the
barbarous war in Vietnam, Canada has supported the United States
through its membership on the International Control Commission and
through sales of arms and strategic resources to the American
military industrial complex.
The American empire is
held together through worldwide military alliances and giant
monopoly corporations. Canada's membership in the American alliance
system and the ownership of the Canadian economy by American
corporations precludes Canada's playing an independent role in the
world. These bonds must be cut if corporate capitalism and the
social priorities it creates are to be effectively challenged.
Canadian development is
distorted by a corporate capitalist economy. Corporate investment
creates and fosters superfluous individual consumption at the expense
of social needs. Corporate decision-making concentrates investment
in a few major urban areas, which become increasingly uninhabitable
while the rest of the country sinks in underdevelopment.
The criterion that the
most profitable pursuits are the most important ones causes the
neglect of activities whose value cannot be measured be the
standards of profitability. It is not accidental that housing,
education, medical care, and public transportation are inadequately
provided for by the present social system.
The problem of regional
disparities is rooted in the profit orientation of capitalism. The
social costs of stagnant areas are irrelevant to the corporations.
For Canada, the problem is compounded by the reduction of Canada to
the position of an economic colony of the United States. The foreign
capitalist has even less concern for balanced development of the
country than the Canadian capitalist does with roots in a particular
An independent movement
based on substituting Canadian capitalists for American capitalists,
or on public policy to make foreign corporations behave as if they
were Canadian corporations, cannot be our final objective. There is
not now an independent Canadian capitalism and any lingering
pretensions on the part on Canadian businessmen to independence
lack credibility. Without a strong national capitalist class behind
them, Canadian governments, Liberal and Conservative, have functioned
in the interests of international and particularly American
capitalism, and have lacked the will to pursue even a modest
strategy of economic independence.
Capitalism must be
replaced by socialism, by national planning of investment and by the
public ownership of the means of production in the interests of the
Canadian people as a whole. Canadian nationalism is a relevant force
on which to build to the extent that it is anti-imperialist. On the
road to socialism, such aspirations for independence must be taken
into account. For to pursue independence seriously is to make
visible the necessity of socialism in Canada.
Those who desire socialism
and independence for Canada have often been baffled and mystified by
the problem of internal divisions within Canada. While the essential
fact of the Canadian history in the past century is the reduction of
Canada to a colony of the United States, with a consequent increase
in regional inequalities, there is no denying the existence of two
nations within Canada, each with its own language, culture, and
aspirations. This reality must be incorporated into the strategy of
the New Democratic Party.
English Canada and Quebec
can share common institutions to the extent that they share common
purposes. So long as Canada is governed by those who believe that
the national policy should be limited to the passive function of
maintaining a peaceful and secure climate for foreign investment,
there can be no meaningful unity between English and French
Canadians. So long as the federal government refuses to protect the
country from economic and cultural domination, English Canada is
bound to appear to French Canadians simply as part of the United
States. An English Canada concerned with its own national survival
would create common aspirations that would help to tie the two
nations together once more.
Nor can the present
treatment of the constitutional issue in isolation from economic and
social forces that transcend the two nations be anything but
irrelevant. Politicians committed to the values and structure of a
capitalist society drafted our present constitution a century ago.
Constitutional change relevant to socialists must be based on the
needs of the people rather than the corporations and must reflect
the power of classes and groups excluded from effective
decision-making by the present system.
A united Canada is of
critical importance in pursuing a successful strategy against the
reality of American imperialism. Quebec's history and aspirations
must be allowed full expression and implementation in the conviction
that new ties will emerge from the common perception of "two
nations, one struggle". Socialists in English Canada must ally
themselves with socialists in Quebec in this common cause.
Central to the creation of
an independent socialist Canada is the strength and tradition of the
Canadian working class and the trade union movement. The
revitalization and extension of the labor movement would involve a
fundamental democratization of our society.
Corporate capitalism is
characterized by the predominant power of the corporate elite aided
and abetted by the political elite. A central objective of Canadian
socialists must be to further the democratization process in
industry. The Canadian trade union movement throughout its history
has waged a democratic battle against the so-called rights or
prerogatives of ownership and management. It has achieved the
important moral and legal victory of providing for working men an
affective say in what their wages will be. At present management's
"right" to control technological change is being challenged. The
New Democratic Party must provide leadership in the struggle to
extend working men's influence into every area of industrial
decision-making. Those who work must have effective control in the
determination of working conditions, and substantial power in
determining the nature of the product, prices and so on. Democracy
and socialism require nothing less.
Trade unionists and New
Democrats have led in extending the welfare state in Canada. Much
remains to be done: more and better housing, a really progressive
tax structure, a guaranteed annual income. However, these are no
longer enough. A socialist society must be one in which there is
democratic control of all institutions, which have a major effect on
men's lives and where there is equal opportunity for creative
non-exploitative self-development. It is now time to go beyond the
New Democrats must begin
now to insist on the redistribution of power, and not simply
welfare, in a socialist direction. The struggle for worker
participation in industrial decision-making and against management
"rights" is such a move toward economic and social democracy.
By strengthening the
Canadian labor movement, New Democrats will further the pursuit of
Canadian independence. So long as the corporate elite dominates
Canadian economic activity, and so long as worker's rights are
confined within their present limits, corporate requirements for
profit will continue to take precedence over human needs.
By bringing men together
primarily as buyers and sellers of each other, by enshrining
profitability and material gain in place of humanity and spiritual
growth, capitalism has always been inherently alienating. Today,
sheer size combined with modern technology further exaggerates man's
sense of insignificance and impotence. A socialist
transformation of society will return to man his sense of
humanity, to replace his sense of being a commodity.
socialist democracy implies man's control of his immediate
environment as well, and in any strategy for building socialism,
community democracy is as vital as the struggle for electoral
success. To that end, socialists must strive for democracy at those
levels that most directly affect us all — in our neighborhoods, our
schools, and our places of work. Tenants' unions, consumers' and
producers' cooperatives are examples of areas in which socialist
must lead in efforts to involve people directly in the struggle to
control their own destinies.
Socialism is a process and
a program. The process is the raising of socialist consciousness,
the building of a mass base of socialists, and a strategy to make
visible the limits of liberal capitalism.
While the program must
evolve out of the process, its leading features seem clear. Relevant
instruments for bringing the Canadian economy under Canadian
ownership and control and for altering the priorities established by
corporate capitalism are to hand. They include extensive public
control over investment and nationalization of the commanding
heights of the economy, such as the essential resources industries,
finance and credit, and industries strategic to planning our
economy. Within that program, workers' participation in all
institutions promises to release creative energies, promote
decentralization, and restore human and social priorities.
The struggle to build a
democratic socialist Canada must proceed at all levels of Canadian
society. The New Democratic Party is the organization suited to
bringing these activities into a common focus. The New Democratic
Party has grown out of a movement for democratic socialism that has
deep roots in Canadian history. It is the core around which should
be mobilized the social and political movement necessary for
building an independent socialist Canada. The New Democratic Party
must rise to that challenge or become irrelevant. Victory lies in
joining the struggle.