The "Waffle" needs to be revived within the NDP

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NorthReport
The "Waffle" needs to be revived within the NDP

I am not very familiar with the Waffle movement but it seems that something similiar is required for the NDP. I know there is a socialist caucus, isn't there, but that does not seem to have the same clout.

I know mainstreet NDPers probably cringe at the thought, but wasn't the NDP quite popular when the Waffle was around. And if there was a very strong pressure group from the left, it might even help the party gain credibility with the middle-of-the-road voter during elections.

 

You know, Layton could say look at those crazy lefties, better vote NDP. Laughing

johnpauljones

nope because if jack keeps going the way he is the 21st century waffle will revive all on its own

NorthReport

I thought that is what I said. Surprised

genstrike

Well, it all depends on what your goals are but honestly, I don't see it being that much of a benefit to left movements.  Socialist Caucus is getting nowhere fast and the Alan Woods fanboys at Fightback/IMT are an even bigger joke.  I think the notion that we can capture the NDP and use it in the stuggle against capitalism is quite frankly absurd.

remind remind's picture
NorthReport

It's not all bad within the NDP, and realistically politically what alternatives does the left have?

Lavigne, Layton, etc. just need some seriously organized pressure from the left to make the correct political policy choices . Laughing

Unionist

With all due respect, the thread title is a bit flaky. The NDP didn't create the Waffle - so it can't "revive" it. The NDP destroyed the Waffle, because various middle class leaders and trade union bosses felt threatened by its attractive power for (especially) the youth. The crushing of the Waffle was one reason I left the NDP in those days, although I was never a Waffle member, but not the only reason.

Anyway, it makes no sense to have an oppositional formation within a party like the NDP. Its history shows that it will not tolerate organized dissent. Its conventions show that policy isn't made by the members. I still believe people should speak up for what's right, whether from inside or outside, and influence the NDP to do the right thing. But this "caucus" thing is a solid waste of time and an illusion.

Stockholm

Wasn't Ed Broadbent one of the first people to be involved in the waffle and is also credited with having first coined the phrase "waffle"? (outside of the Belgian context)

ottawaobserver

Lots of former Wafflers also went on to take leadership roles in the party, including in the caucus.  I think it was more of a legend in the minds of the academics who started it, and I don't think it ever achieved the kind of mass appeal people think it did, but it did serve a purpose in helping to further democratizing the party.  I remember attending a convention in the 1980s when I was handed the authorized list of people to vote for.  They sure don't try that anymore.

remind remind's picture

Ya well, that is why I put the wiki link up, so that people could read up on what it actually was.

The lack of support  by the general public of the "waffle" movement, indicates just how marginal far/extreme left thought was back then, and it is even more so in today's world. And BTW, I am not ascribing correctness or wrongness, to people's opinions in the majority, just stating a fact.

 

Suaveman

The more the NDP continues on its current path of approaching the centre for electoral purposes, obsessing over media hits, and allowing its spin doctors determine policy, the closer we will all come to a waffle 2.0.

 

As an NDP activist in QC -an oftentimes more radical section of the NDP- I can see firsthand the disappointment and exasperation of its activists.

 

If the NDP wants to 'replace' the Liberals by being a hair to the left of them, and/or if the NDP continues to crush dissidence in its party, why does the NDP bother to exist? What would Tommy say?

Unionist

The Waffle proclaimed Québec's right to self-determination - a view that was taboo in the party in those days. They preached against economic and political integration with the U.S. And they used the word "socialism" as if they meant it. It's awfully nice to hear some people refer to these views as "far left" or "extreme left". All I know is that the party youth was inspired by them. It's taken many years and lots of agony to bring those ideas back to the fore, and the party's not there yet.

 

George Victor

As a waffle member, I thought of it first as a nationalist movement (of the left wing of the NDP). That is how both Laxer and Watkins thought of it.

Ironically, it is a market fancier by the name of Jeff Rubin whose peak oil thesis bets on a return of industrial activity in this country as it becomes too expensive to fuel the transportation systems that make globalization possible.

So I would think that this would be an excellent time to renew the nationalism of the Waffle group.  Should be very popular this time out.

remind remind's picture

Unionist wrote:

The Waffle proclaimed Québec's right to self-determination - a view that was taboo in the party in those days. They preached against economic and political integration with the U.S. And they used the word "socialism" as if they meant it. It's awfully nice to hear some people refer to these views as "far left" or "extreme left". All I know is that the party youth was inspired by them. It's taken many years and lots of agony to bring those ideas back to the fore, and the party's not there yet.

Why unionist, it was you yourself who stated you were extreme, and I thought; "hmm...okay then, at least we have a benchmark now for who the extreme left are" ;)

BTW, I was one of those NDP youth!

George Victor

Wish I could afford to go to Halifax next month and help hold their toes to the growing nationalist flame.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

ottawaobserver wrote:

  I remember attending a convention in the 1980s when I was handed the authorized list of people to vote for.  They sure don't try that anymore.

The PARTY handed out that list?  Who was considered "unauthorized"?

jrootham

Slates still get handed out at Ontario Provincial Conventions.

 

NorthReport

You are correct unionist, I could have worded the title a bit more accurately such as:

The "Waffle" needs to be revived within the NDP. But what's done is done. Laughing

dtaylor

I was active in the Saskatchewan Waffle. For an excellent backgrounder on the Waffle in Saskatchewan and efforts to change the NDP, read...

 http://www.nextyearcountry.ca/nyclast.all.pdf

 

Unionist

dtaylor wrote:

I was active in the Saskatchewan Waffle. For an excellent backgrounder on the Waffle in Saskatchewan and efforts to change the NDP, read...

 http://www.nextyearcountry.ca/nyclast.all.pdf

 

Wow, do I ever remember Next Year Country! Thanks for the memories, dtaylor.

 

Tommy_Paine

 

The NDP doesn't need a "waffle", it needs to get angry.

 

George Victor

That sort of describes the waffle folks back in '72.

ottawaobserver

jrootham wrote:

Slates still get handed out at Ontario Provincial Conventions.

Sigh.  And it's worked so well for them up to now ...

NorthReport

Tommy_Paine wrote:

 

The NDP doesn't need a "waffle", it needs to get angry.

 

Well the NDP definitely need a name change in Ontario. Nothing personal, but the NDP there is like death boiled over.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Well, maybe if the NDP just started SERVING free waffles.  Who wouldn't like a party like that?

Big Daddy

If the NDP revives the waffle, would it be possible to revive David Lewis?  It sure took guts to stand up to them.

 

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

In the first federal election held after the Waffle was "stood up to", the NDP fell from 31 seats to 16.  David Lewis lost his own seat.

Right after that, the BC NDP government lost power.  Two years later, the same thing happened in Manitoba.

Why do you still think the defeat of the Waffle was a GOOD thing?

NorthReport

Thanks Ken. I didn;t know that and all the more reason to rekindle the "Waffle" flame, but for goodness sake NDPers, get a marketing guru to choice a more palatable name for North American audiences. The socialist causus. WTF

al-Qa'bong

Quote:
So I would think that this would be an excellent time to renew the nationalism of the Waffle group.  Should be very popular this time out.

 

Sure, why not? I voted for Mel Hurtig's National party back in the 90s, because by then the Nude Ems had already abandoned the left-nationalist stance that had made them worth voting for.

Stockholm

Ken Burch wrote:

In the first federal election held after the Waffle was "stood up to", the NDP fell from 31 seats to 16.  David Lewis lost his own seat.

Right after that, the BC NDP government lost power.  Two years later, the same thing happened in Manitoba.

Why do you still think the defeat of the Waffle was a GOOD thing?

Actually, you're wrong, the Waffle was expelled early in 1972 and the NDP went on to go from 22 seats to 31. In 1974, the remnants of waffle tried to form a party called Movement for an Independent Socialist Canada (and I thought CCRAP was a bad acronym, whoever heard of a party called MISC?). They got about 500 votes in the whole country and then sank without a trace.

Its probably fair to say that the Waffle was to the NDP like what those crackpots in the Militant Tendency were to the British Labour Party.

Jacob Richter

Most likely because they chose a bad name for the split party.  Nevertheless, it is imperative for workers to form a "political party, distinct from and opposed to all parties of the propertied classes."  How about the Socialist Left Party, taking cues from the SP-USA, the PSUV in Venezuela, Die Linke in Germany, the Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste in France, and the CPGB-PCC in the UK?

Stockholm

Talk about a list of totally failed parties...you'd think "Die Linke" would be having a heyday being the only opposition to a CDU/SPD grand coalition, but they are going no where and can't escape being tarred with being mostly made up of ex-Stasi agents.

Jacob Richter

Typical Blairite social-liberal banter, as I expected.

All developed countries suffer from lower voter turnouts, due to apathy from among middle-class occupations (like the self-employed), and due to disillusionment and/or lack of self-respect from among workers, seeking the opiates of "consumerism," organized religion, and revolutionary spontaneism (no organization needed for revolutionary change, as if it will come like a religious rapture).

Any genuine socialist party would have to organize the latter class on all lines, from token electoralism to spoilages, from legal political action to civil disobedience (like coordinated bossnappings), from limited cooperative projects to alternative cultures.

Big Daddy

I do hear the narrative, repeated again and again, that if the NDP were to become more left wing, there woud me many many people who don't currently vote for the party (or even vote) who would support the NDP.  first of all, the Federal NDP is already fairly left wing.  But secondly, where is the evidence for this?   If being left wing were to attract more voters, then the current Ontario NDP ought to be on the way back to government.  I'm not sure who these masses are who are crying out for a more left wing party.  Does anyone know who these people are?   I don't see masses of people demanding a more left wing party.  Besudes, there is already a more left wing party (the Marxist Leninists, the Communists) and they don't get many votes.  And, the Mel Hurtig National Party got trounced in the polls (though Al Q'abong apparently voted for them, good to see that you're an NDP loyalist.)

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Stockholm wrote:

 

Its probably fair to say that the Waffle was to the NDP like what those crackpots in the Militant Tendency were to the British Labour Party.

Well, after "those crackpots" in the Militant Tendency were expelled from Labour,a process began that led to the party ending up, by the time it did return to power, agreeing with the Tories on every issue that mattered.  By you that's an improvement?

Jacob Richter

That is because the NDP you speak of is merely an electoral machine that's out to get votes come election time.  The failure of many left-wing parties to "cash in" on the crisis globally is because they're set up to be mere electoral machines.  What I talked about above is a "total" organizational model that can be seen in the pre-war Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands (and even the short-lived USPD breakaway) to the former Kommunisticheskaya Partiya Sovetskogo Soyuza to the modern Lebanese Hezbollah.

Such "party" would be such in the 19th-century sense or early 20th-century sense: a genuine political party, a way of life, a distinct class culture.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Stockholm wrote:

Talk about a list of totally failed parties...you'd think "Die Linke" would be having a heyday being the only opposition to a CDU/SPD grand coalition, but they are going no where and can't escape being tarred with being mostly made up of ex-Stasi agents.

Well, "Die Linke" is the only party on the German left that's increased it support at all since Angela Merkel came in.  THe Greens have treaded water(and, since they're now in coalition with the Christian Democrats in at least one area, are now on their way away from being left-of-center at all)and the SPD is in massive decline, even though it's just as bland, tame, and moderate as you want all left-of-center parties to be.

The association with the Stasi and the East German past really should be considered extinct in this day and age.  Almost no one in Die Linke today was connected in any meaningful way with the SED.  Most of those types quit as soon as that party transformed into the Party of Democratic Socialism.  Old SED types are much more likely to have joined the Repulibkaner or other hard-right anti-immigrant parties.

Die Linke has its flaws, but a Die Linke government would never have anything in common with the kind of regime Ulbricht and Honecker ran.  Stalinism is extinct in Germany.

 

 

Jacob Richter

It's ashame that I will probably live to see August Bebel's political project be buried and animated by another political party, Ken.

NorthReport

Stockholm wrote:

Ken Burch wrote:

In the first federal election held after the Waffle was "stood up to", the NDP fell from 31 seats to 16.  David Lewis lost his own seat.

Right after that, the BC NDP government lost power.  Two years later, the same thing happened in Manitoba.

Why do you still think the defeat of the Waffle was a GOOD thing?

Actually, you're wrong, the Waffle was expelled early in 1972 and the NDP went on to go from 22 seats to 31. In 1974, the remnants of waffle tried to form a party called Movement for an Independent Socialist Canada (and I thought CCRAP was a bad acronym, whoever heard of a party called MISC?). They got about 500 votes in the whole country and then sank without a trace.

Its probably fair to say that the Waffle was to the NDP like what those crackpots in the Militant Tendency were to the British Labour Party.

 

Thanks for the link Remind

 

I think it actually went more like this:

 

1968 election the NDP only got 22 seats

 

1969 Waffle was formed

 

1972 election the NDP rose in support to 31 seats

 

1974 Waffle disbanded

 

1974 election the NDP dropped down to only 16 seats

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

That's right.  Even if the Waffle was kicked out in 1972, rather than 1974, the period following that expulsion was a period of general NDP decline.  After the NDP kicked them out, the NDP wasn't able to do much of anything with the "balance of power" status they had between 1972 and 1974(there was single-payer, which is eternally to the NDP's credit, but that would have happened at the same time if the Waffle had't been driven out, since NDP support would have been just as strong in '72 if the Waffle was still there).  And Trudeau was able to cut heavily into NDP support in 1974 as a result of the post-Waffle NDP not seeming to be very different from the Liberals at all.  And if they WEREN'T different, then why NOT just vote Liberal, since the Liberals were going to have a chance to lead a government and the NDP wasn't. 

If expelling the Waffle was a surpassingly brilliant political move, wouldn't NDP support have soared across Canada in the 1973 to 1977 period, rather than dropping like a stone? 

Big Daddy

NorthReport wrote:

 

I think it actually went more like this:

 

1968 election the NDP only got 22 seats

 

1969 Waffle was formed

 

1972 election the NDP rose in support to 31 seats

 

1974 Waffle disbanded

 

1974 election the NDP dropped down to only 16 seats

 

The Waffle made a brief reappearance as the NPI.  It was disbanded and driven out of the party after the 2000 election.  In 2004 the NDP made significant gains in terms of number of seats and popular vote.  This couldn't be a coincidence either, based on your logic.  

Maysie Maysie's picture

NorthReport wrote:

You are correct unionist, I could have worded the title a bit more accurately such as:

The "Waffle" needs to be revived within the NDP. But what's done is done. Laughing

There you go. Better late than never.

Maysie Maysie's picture

So, here's something of a radical suggestion, blending two seemingly disparate ideas together.

There are many radical leftists who are people of colour, immigrants, queers, feminists, etc. For all the issues of the NDP's lack of national diversity, if the leadership were to be turned over to folks who have longstanding activist, and leftist organizing credentials, from either their countries of origin or outside-the-mainstream activism, I think there would be a massive change and surge in population in the NDP, or whatever it wants to call itself.

NorthReport

Thanks for adjusting the thread title Maysie.

That would be a very interestig experiment however I just can't see those who presently control the party giving up power. What is it they say: Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. 

But a diversity group could form within the NDP similiar in a sense to the Waffle, and try to do it that way. I read Michelle's comments in the diversity thread, and I have a feeling this issue is going to come back and bite the NDP in the ass.

Maysie Maysie's picture

The thing with power holders who refuse to give up power is not waiting for them to "give it" and to simply take it.

And:

No diversity committees!!! Nooooooooooo!!

 

NorthReport

I seem to remember hearing about a diversity issue in Toronto  a while back, to do with the Board of some organization, was it called Jessie's perhaps, that was operating a residence for women. How did that sort itself out? 

KenS

You don't just "hand over" the leadership of a party to anyone.

And I would NEVER countenance electing, or promoting for leadership, a whole group of people with no demonstrated commitment to and patience with electoral politics. Electing one particular person like that- maybe even for Leader- fine. But a wholesale changeover to people with no commitment- frankly, not going to consider it.

The hypothetical of turning the NDP into some [very hypothetical] version of an agglomeration of social movement groups is endlessly attractive to people who don't like electoral politics.... who only want to cheer for [ocassionaly] and against aspects of it they don't like.

While issues of power are most definitely central; it is also definitely not as simple as 'being willing to turn over power'.

KenS

NorthReport wrote:
But a diversity group could form within the NDP similiar in a sense to the Waffle, and try to do it that way. I read Michelle's comments in the diversity thread, and I have a feeling this issue is going to come back and bite the NDP in the ass.

You're crazy if you think this is new. Its been biting the NDP in the ass for longer than I've been around. This particular issue of the speakers list- if it exists at all in 2 weeks- is a pip in comparison.

KenS

Just for the record- I'm more than willing to accept criticism for what the NDP has not done. Where I get dismissive is some of the facile solutions I hear.

KenS

Maysie wrote:
There are many radical leftists who are people of colour, immigrants, queers, feminists, etc. For all the issues of the NDP's lack of national diversity, if the leadership were to be turned over to folks who have longstanding activist, and leftist organizing credentials, from either their countries of origin or outside-the-mainstream activism, I think there would be a massive change and surge in population in the NDP, or whatever it wants to call itself.

This is delusional at core. If the entire leadership of the NDP were to walk away- which is quite a large group actually, entailing many people who are not staff or politicians- and the doors were to be thrown open...

In the first place, I'm not so sure their would be as many takers as you think. Its a lot of work, a lot of bullshit even if you are now in charge, and people have their existing struggles and lives that are their priorities...

But supposing I'm wrong, and people come rushing in the door, there would be an influx of 'good people', but not an overall surge in poulation in the NDP.

Funny thing I learned when I got more invloved with the NDP after 25 years as social movement activist- that vast majority of people at the grassroots who come in the door are most of all interested in electing people. It doesn't have to be about winning, but it does have to be about electing people.

So good luck with that surge in population.

remind remind's picture

NorthReport wrote:
Stockholm wrote:
Ken Burch wrote:

In the first federal election held after the Waffle was "stood up to", the NDP fell from 31 seats to 16.  David Lewis lost his own seat.

Right after that, the BC NDP government lost power.  Two years later, the same thing happened in Manitoba.

Why do you still think the defeat of the Waffle was a GOOD thing?

Actually, you're wrong, the Waffle was expelled early in 1972 and the NDP went on to go from 22 seats to 31. In 1974, the remnants of waffle tried to form a party called Movement for an Independent Socialist Canada (and I thought CCRAP was a bad acronym, whoever heard of a party called MISC?). They got about 500 votes in the whole country and then sank without a trace.

Its probably fair to say that the Waffle was to the NDP like what those crackpots in the Militant Tendency were to the British Labour Party.

 

Thanks for the link Remind

 

I think it actually went more like this:

 

1968 election the NDP only got 22 seats

 

1969 Waffle was formed

 

1972 election the NDP rose in support to 31 seats

 

1974 Waffle disbanded

 

1974 election the NDP dropped down to only 16 seats

 

WTF???????

 Never gave you any links so I do not know what you are trying to insinuate!

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