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 socialist party.
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.
American corporate 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.
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 by
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 region.
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 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.
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 welfare state.
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. But a 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 socialists must lead in efforts
to involve people directly in the struggle to control their
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.