Saturday, 16 April 2016

The NDP and the Leap Manifesto

Recently, I had the chance to look over the Leap Manifesto introduced at the recent NDP leadership conference. At first, I gazed upon this simple document with anger, as I wondered why this had not been released in advance of the most recent federal election.

If one thing is common among the New Democratic Party of Canada, it is that it's members, while on the path to social justice and equality in society, are often placed in positions, where internal conflict becomes rampant. In many ways, the NDP act much like the Democrats do when it comes to internal organization and consistency in message, they will either work together in success or tear each other apart and lose what momentum they may have gathered.

Having worked on behalf of NDP campaigns in both the most recent Ontario election and federal election, I have seen how this behavior has played out first hand. In both cases, the NDP stood in a position of political triumph, they essentially played the wild card and as a result were able to have many of their intended objectives met, unfortunately things fell apart and these plans would later be introduced through the motion of a Liberal MP or MPP. Another reality in our country is that many amazing policies that work to actually assist Canadians, are often stolen from the NDP, only later to be introduced by either Liberals or Conservatives as original ideas. I say this not because I support the party and believe they offer the change our country needs, but rather because this has been a reality I have observed on more than one occasion over the past few years.

Back to the Leap Manifesto though as it has garnered as series of mixed reviews from both party members and outside observers alike. While the document returns the NDP back to their idealistic and hopeful roots, it once again suffers from the reality of being introduced at the wrong place and time. Well, its placement is actually ideal, since we as a country are now at a fork in the road, which means the decisions we make now as people will inherently have even more of an impact than ever before.

The Leap Manifesto takes into consideration the problems both "average" Canadians and impoverished Canadians face and pledges to directly address them. In reality, much of these problems are currently being faced by people around the world, who are currently in the process of living through various government imposed austerity measures. The Leap Manifesto is ideal in this situation, as it stands its ground as an anti-austerity measure, which is crucial at this time. 

I wouldn't be surprised if the Liberals or Conservatives end up using the Leap Manifesto as a basis to their own political road maps in the years to come before our next election. As the Conservatives are in damage control over the destruction imposed by Harper, the Liberals are going to require any material available in order to not only stay fresh in the minds of Canadians, but also relevant.

Lucky for both of these parties, the electorate often has a short memory and as a result will follow the policies and parties that gain social momentum and result in a direct impact on their lives. This is why the NDP is going to have to focus a lot of attention in the coming years in order to not only spread the Leap Manifesto via social media, but also advertise the hell out of any policies, idea, systems or practically anything that may sprout from its original ideals.

In order for any of this to really make a difference or for the Leap Manifesto to transcend from an early document to a full platform, the party needs to pull up its pants and join in solidarity. The NDP needs to do some soul searching over the next two years in order to not only choose a new leader, but agree on where the party is, where members want to be and how they intend on getting there. If anything, the NDP needs the Political Road Map more than they may even know, because once the party can agree as a whole, it is simply a matter of sticking to their identity and fight as hard as possible to both represent their target audience and mobilize said audience to take action.

The first step in order to begin this process requires the following step:

 The first step in order to move forward requires that the party dismiss or demote anyone who brings forward any negativity both in the media and among the ranks that directly causes drama and diversion. Rebecca Blaikie's comments for example, at first seem like a progressive attempt at outlining the need to branch out and make political life available to all Canadians, but in fact it has created much more harm. The worst possible thing you can do to a party suffering from an identity crisis is add in another element that questions the party's current base and offends at the same time. I mean, if I was to walk into any organization or group and say hey everyone, listen...I think this group is too black, Mexican, female or Chinese, I would most likely be kicked out and have the cops called on me for a possible hate crime. The fact that the party allowed their own party president to utter these words in the media, shows how confused the party really is.

When I worked directly with the NDP in my area, we stuck to our policies and naturally worked with all colours and creeds, even in my riding, which is primarily made up of retired Caucasian seniors! The party's mandate should be clear, we are working toward the eradication of inequality in society and the betterment of all Canadians. Characteristics such as: Colour, Religion or sexual orientation are assumed as descriptors that do not deny people from joining the party as they do not make people any less Canadians than others!

God, then to add salt to the wounds, the Metro released an article reviewing the Toronto NDP, where two young members described how they felt the party was filled with and I quote: "Too many old white guys."

For fucks sake Rebecca! 

Once the party realizes that they are a multi-colored band of socialist misfits who are going to turn our current system upside down is the only time it will truly be able to embrace the knowledge set and motivation necessary to actually impact change.

Our society is facing an ever growing economic war that is not only dividing us, but also making us vulnerable to divisive tactics, which are further dividing us as a whole and allowing for the inequality we are witnessing to not only continue, but grow.

The Leap Manifesto has the potential to enact great change and truly allow Canada to become an example for the world at large, but in order for this to happen, many different factors need to come together.

The NDP need to realize where they stand currently, where they want to go and if the current government is heading in the same direction. If not, then the party needs to put together an action plan that will do something about it.

If you would like to read the Leap Manifesto and sign it, please visit here.

Until Next Time!