|Minneapolis: Successful Event on Canadian Elections|
|Written by CMPL|
|Thursday, 16 June 2011 14:29|
On Thursday, June 15 at Mayday Books in Minneapolis' West Bank, the CMPL hosted a discussion on the past, present, and future of Canada's own labor party, the NDP. The evening began with a showing of the film Mouseland, a cartoon allegory on the need for class independent political action. Then Greg Gibbs of the CMPL introduced the discussion with an overview history of the New Democratic Party. Founded in 1961, the NDP emerged from a radical mix of socialist and labor activists and the Canadian Labour Congress. It's ups and downs over the past few decades were highlighted, with special emphasis given to the fact that when it has shifted to the left, it has inspired workers and young people to action and gained ground, and when it has shifted to the right--to the so-called "center"--it has lost ground. An important lesson for the current activists and leadership of the NDP. Greg's notes on the NDP's history will be available on this site shortly.
John Peterson of the CMPL the spoke about the most recent elections, in which the NDP surged ahead to become the second party in the country--the official opposition--for the first time in its history. Squeezed out of the "center" by the polarization of Canadian society resulting from the economic crisis and wave of austerity attacks against the working class, the Liberal Party and Bloc Quebecois saw a collapse of support. The Conservatives, headed by Stephen Harper, won the election by a narrow margin, but the stage is set for tremendous battles of the class struggle, thus setting the stage for even greater political battles in the next elections. Already, Harper's anti-worker program is being put into effect, with frontal assaults on the Postal and Air Canada workers, who are now on strike and picketing across the country.
The parallels with the U.S., where we do not yet have a mass Labor Party, and where we therefore do not yet have socialized universal health care and free access to childcare, were also outlined and developed. The audience of 19, which included several public sector union members and young workers who are not in unions but would like to be, engaged in a vigorous discussion about Canada, the future of the U.S. labor movement, and the need for a labor party here as well. A small collection was taken up, and $49 was raised for the work of the CMPL. If you would like to donate toward our efforts, please click here. Or better yet, join the CMPL today and help bring these ideas to your union local, campus, or community group.
The next meeting of the Minneapolis-St. Paul CMPL is on June 30 at 7pm at Mayday Books. With an imminent shutdown of the MN government coming on July 1, the CMPL will be participating in the planned actions organized by public sector unions in response to what amounts to a forced, unpaid furlough. Stay tuned for details on how you can help build solidarity for these workers and raise the need for a Labor Party that will fight against cuts and concessions.