With the watering down of the federal NDP constitution the party has taken a step to the right at its Montreal convention. This step mirrors similar developments within the social-democratic labour parties internationally, and is a tragic irony given the ongoing crisis of capitalism. However, disappointing as it is, the removal of a constitutional preamble that nobody had ever read does not fundamentally change the character of the NDP. Because of the crisis, mass movements are inevitable; these in turn will have their reflection in the mass organizations.

The Constitution Committee of the federal NDP has proposed a rewrite of the preamble to the party’s constitution. The new wording is supposedly a compromise, after the right-wing of the party was defeated in 2011 when it tried to remove all references to socialism. However, this new amendment is no compromise at all and marks a significant turn to the right. “Socialism” is relegated to the past in a tokenistic fashion. Most notably, sections on social ownership are removed and replaced with the primacy of the market. This is a bitter irony, precisely when “the market” is showing its abject failure globally, and in Canada. Removal of the defence of social ownership also opens up the party to supporting the privatization of public services. Delegates must reject this rightward shift.

Canadian politics is evolving against a backdrop of a continued global economic crisis: Europe is in turmoil, the USA is yet to recover, and there are significant weaknesses at home with high consumer debt and the possibility of the bursting of the housing bubble. In response to this failure of capitalist recovery, the federal Conservative government has embarked on a policy of austerity cuts and attacks upon organized workers. In this article Alex Grant outlines the choices for that the New Democratic Party is faced with ahead of its national convention in Montreal.

In the past couple of weeks, hundreds of innocent people have been rounded up by the Montreal police, despite the fact that these individuals committed no crimes. It is very clear that this is only the latest attempt by the state to frighten ordinary workers and youth from demonstrating opposition to the ruling class’ agenda. But, in doing so, they are playing a very dangerous game and risk destroying the veil that is bourgeois democracy.

Over 70 people crammed into the Yellow Griffin Pub in Toronto’s west end to celebrate the life of Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez.  The fact that so many people came out on a few hours’ notice demonstrates the effect that Chávez and the Bolivarian revolution have on the lives of people around the world.

For a period of several months last summer, a mass movement shook the province of Quebec. It forced an election where the victorious Parti Québécois felt compelled to present themselves as being on the left — proposing to cancel the tuition increase, abolishing the hated law 78, as well as other progressive measures. In its first budget since the election, the Marois government went back on many of its promises made during the election campaign. Faced with the hypocrisy of the PQ who had put themselves forward as “the progressive option”, the possibility to form a party that can represent the interests of workers and youth is more important than ever before. For the left-wing party, Quebec solidaire, the potential for success is greater than it has ever been. But, how can Quebec solidaire take advantage of the present situation and build a real alternative for the workers who search for a way to combat the austerity being forced upon them?

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