I find it fairly interesting the way Liberals and Conservatives in this country are desperately trying to portray the NDP as a wacky socialist throw-back to the 1960s. Acceptance of this characterization is based itself on an old idea - the idea that the NDP has not changed its policies in forty years or so. However, despite the fact that there are some on the far left in the NDP, overall it is now a party more or less of the centre. Their primary political goals nowadays are a strengthening of the CPP, a more solid commitment to universal health-care, a tax system that doesn't let corporations get away with murder, and some effort to control what is gradually shaping up to be an environmental disaster. It is all pretty tame really and anyone who attempts to characterize them differently is just intentionally feeding on stereotypes for the sake of partisan gain.
But even if the NDP was a throw-back to a more genuine socialist effort, I say bring it on. Far from being wacky or dangerous, socialism is the only thing that will save us from environmental destruction, oppressive economic inequalities, corporations that have gone completely out of control, and a slowly degrading state of democracy. There is no doubt that the process of globalization has made any socialist effort significantly more difficult. Corporations have fairly effectively created a atmosphere in which states have a limited independence to control their own economies. But there is also a growing international awareness of the power of corporations to control people's lives and the need for real reforms before it is too late. The economy belongs to the people, not to multinationals, and if the people want to take control of the system, then they can and will. One needn't be a radical who believes in no market process whatsoever to believe that economies can be run in the interests of average people and that corporations should not be controlling all of the social, political, and economic aspects of our lives.
The only reason that people perceive the NDP agenda to be radical or whacky is that they have bought into the spin of neo-conservatives who have created an ideology which convinces people that they are entirely at the behest of corporations and that there is no alternative. Well there is an alternative, and it means limiting the power of corporations to set the agenda and to create an economy in which people matter. It is not a radical alternative, it is a human alternative.
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