NDP purges Toronto Young New Democrats

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Nicko
NDP purges Toronto Young New Democrats

Quote:
Comrades and Friends,

Since it was founded less than a year ago, the Toronto Young New Democrats (TYND) have become the single most successful NDP youth club to exist in Ontario for the last ten years. By reaching out to community groups and providing a democratic forum for the inclusion of all, we have gained a sizable base in areas that normally never see a political party outside of an election. The Esplanade, St. James Town, Lawrence Heights, just to name a few. Everyone who has become involved in the TYND, and all our supporters, should be extremely proud of building the base of the NDP amongst those who need a voice the most.

But, I am sad to say, this work, this great club, is under attack. Last night, at a secret "In Camera" executive meeting of the Ontario New Democratic Youth (ONDY), a resolution (included below) was passed that de-chartered the TYND club. Our club was vaguely charged with violating Article XIV, Section 1(a), intentionally misrepresenting policies of the NDP or ONDY. We were not allowed to know the specifics of the charges, see the evidence or face our accusers, despite repeatedly demanding our rights and protesting against the secrecy. The meeting was held "In Camera" meaning that it is technically prohibited for me to even tell the members of the very club that now, as far as the ONDY co-chairs are concerned, no longer exists, why it is that our charter has been removed!

A more blatant attack on democracy is hard to imagine. The co-chairs of the TYND arrived at the meeting with absolutely no information, the evidence presented was one sided and slanderous, and because it was kept hidden from us, because our basic freedoms were denied us, we lacked the ability to produce evidence of our own or prepare a defence. This is a total abrogation of our rights as defined in the ONDY constitution, the ONDP constitution and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. We in no way recognize or validate this illegal decision or the cowardly and secretive way it was made. After making statements against this disgusting process, Jennie Ernewein and myself, co-chairs of the TYND, walked out of the meeting. It should be noted that including our rejection of this process and the resolution that came out of it, the final vote was 5 in favour, 4 against with 1 abstention. This does not meet the 2/3 requirement of the ONDY constitution for de-chartering a club. Yet another breach of the rights of TYND members done by these bureaucrats.

We are accused of having an "allegiance to Fightback" and we are told in the resolution that the TYND must "demonstrably separate itself from Fightback." Fightback is a magazine made up entirely of NDP members. Several TYND members have been published in its pages and it has been an excellent organizing tool for the TYND. NDP members have also been published in the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, The National Post, Rabble, Now Magazine and a host of other publications and also the Party has a vast network of bloggers who make up a healthy grassroots level of opinion and expression. Is the ONDY going to start to suppress all forms of expression because the opinions expressed may differ from those of the ONDY Co-chairs? Is this what the ONDY is becoming, that exercising free speech is considered a crime?

We defend the inalienable democratic right of members of our Party to be free to advocate their beliefs, and we reject any kind of thought police that seeks to instigate witch hunts against honest activists. If the ONDY Co-chairs disagree with the policies that our club has democratically adopted through our membership meetings, then they are welcome to attend and put forward their own views. That is the tradition of our Party and of the Labour movement. We believe in the right to openly and honestly defend your views and then to take a vote to decide the direction of our Party organizations.

The TYND has worked with a great many community groups, the Canadian Peace Alliance, the Toronto and York Region Labour Council, The Esplanade Community Group, the Latin American Peace Initiative, and many more. All these groups contain NDP members, and no community group is 100% in line with Party talking points. Should Party members in these groups be subject to secret tribunals as well? The TYND believes that it is good for the Party to reach out to, and to include, outside community groups in our Party by allowing them to take part in shaping our policies through an open democratic process. This is how we build and how we bring others into the NDP.

Instead, we are met with secrecy, the violation of our democratic rights and slanders and attacks on freedom of speech and freedom of the press. This is not the kind of ONDY we want.

We want an ONDY built on reaching out to different community groups and bringing them into our Party. We believe in building an organization that can be the democratic forum that progressive forces need to honestly share their views, and form common goals. We believe it is through democracy and activism that new layers of youth can be brought into the NDP at a time when we need change more than ever.

The ONDY Co-chairs want to sabotage this work from the dark. They wish to destroy the most successful youth club because they are too afraid to fight us in the realm of ideas and open democracy. We will not allow our Party to be disgraced by such people.

We call on all honest youth activists to help fight against this secret and anti-democratic attack. Moreover, we encourage all young workers and students who want the opportunity to have their voices heard in their own Party, to get involved and to fight for a better future for all of us.

The TYND will be holding an Emergency meeting this Friday at the Imperial Pub (at Dundas and Yonge) at 7pm to discuss this situation and the upcoming ONDY Convention. Real change, change that really matters, never comes easy or without a fight, but the TYND and those who support real activism in the NDP youth can make such a change for the better.

For an activist and democratic ONDY!

In Solidarity,
Julian Benson and Jennie Ernewein
TYND Co-chairs

Whereas the Toronto Young New Democrats (TYND) have a duty, as a chartered Ontario New Democratic Youth (ONDY) club, to uphold and promote the policies, program, and principles of Ontario's and Canada's New Democrats; and

Whereas all members of the Party have ample opportunity to voice their individual opinions on policies, programs, and principles through such methods as ONDY's Convention, Provincial Councils, and the Conventions of Ontario's and Canada's New Democrats; and

Whereas an individual's or group's demonstrable membership in or allegiance with a group that promotes policies, programs, or principles that are contrary to those of Ontario's and Canada's New Democrats is in violation of a member's or group's duty to the Party; and

Whereas TYND has aligned itself, both as a club and via individual actions of the club's leadership, with the organization known as Fightback; and

Whereas Fightback promotes policies, programs, and principles that, though connected to, are fundamentally at odds with those of Ontario's and Canada's New Democrats; and

Whereas TYND's allegiance with Fightback reflects poorly on Ontario's and Canada's New Democrats, their elected representatives in the Greater Toronto Area, and those seeking election in the Greater

Toronto Area, by way of promoting policies, programs, and principles under the New Democratic banner that are not necessarily those held by Ontario's or Canada's New Democrats; and

Whereas the actions of some members, and specifically the leaders, of TYND within Fightback are a demonstrable conflict of interest between the policies, program, and principles of Ontario's and Canada's New Democrats and those of Fightback;

Be it resolved that TYND's allegiance with Fightback presents a violation of Article XIV, Section 1(a) of the Constitution of the Ontario New Democratic Youth, which establishes the requirement to de-charter any club which "Intentionally misrepresent[s] the policies, program, or principles of the NDP or the ONDY"; and

Be it further resolved that ONDY revokes the charter granted to TYND in the 2009-10 period, and further withholds re-chartering from TYND until such a time as the club demonstrably separates itself from Fightback.

 

siamdave

- and the other side of the story is ....????

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Why would the ONDY be so implacably hostile to Fightback?  What does Fightback group do that the ONDY considers to be evil or whatever?

If they DID break with Fightback, would the TYND still be distinguishable from the youth wing of the Liberals?

genstrike

I don't have any inside information, not being in the NDP, but it seems to me like this is just what usually happens to the IMT

Basically, Fightback is the Canadian section of the International Marxist Tendency (IMT), basically one of the most conservative Trotskyist groups out there (yeah, I know what I just said sounds ridiculous to about 99.99% of the population).  The IMT came out of the Militant Tendency in the UK, which for more information you can check out here.  When Militant was booted from Labour, they split based on whether to continue trying entryism or to try to stake out an indepent position, and as they were UK-centric two rival internationals came out of it, the IMT and the CWI.  The IMT was the faction arguing for continued entryism into Labour, and their modus operandi for all sections (except the US section - even the IMT realizes the Democrats are bullshit) are to find a social democratic party such as the NDP, and practice entryism.  Their solution to everything tends to be along the lines of "take back the NDP for socialism", and they consider anyone on the left who isn't in the NDP to be a "sectarian" or "ultraleftist", despite being a highly sectarian group themselves.  I once had an IMTer tell me that I need to "work with the Manitoba NDP to reduce tuition fees" - a strategy that anyone in Manitoba with half a brain should realize is exceedingly idiotic.

Basically, they're a younger and more dogmatic version of Socialist Caucus.

Now, this means that their strategy is to do entryism into the NDP and try to take something over and do some good activism under its banner.  Now, the party brass has to balance their desires to harness young activists to serve as cannon fodder for their election machine, and their need to forbid young activists from having ideas of their own.  Thus, the IMT tends to be tolerated for some time, until such point as they tick off enough of the typical opportunist clowns who run the show in the NDP and are unceremoniously taken down by the bureaucracy.  Of course, the IMT will refuse to learn anything from what has been happening since the Waffle and even before (I know of Manitoba MLAs who were expelled from caucus for opposing NATO, etc), and will come back to find a new way to do their entryist shtick, until such time as the revolution comes - then, they'll be writing "vote NDP" on the barricades.

I hear something similar happened to the New Democrat Youth of Alberta a couple years ago, they managed to take control of the youth wing to the point that their website featured an orange star, the slogan "Democracy and Socialism", and selling books by Karl Marx and Dear Leader Alan Woods.  They eventually got taken down (I can't even find the NDYA website anymore), likely in similar circumstances although I hear that was complicated by internal issues within the IMT itself.

jrootham

Having had a look at the Fightback web site, I think the question is whether they would be distinguishable from the CPC(ML) or some similar organization.

I am inclined to object to the ONDY action on democracy grounds, but I would certainly like some details from the other side before passing judgement.

 

siamdave

genstrike wrote:

.....

Now, the party brass has to balance their desires to harness young activists to serve as cannon fodder for their election machine, and their need to forbid young activists from having ideas of their own.

......

- now if that isn't as good of a short and concise definition of the modern political party as I have ever read ....

genstrike

Ken Burch wrote:

And, of course, the SAME thing will inevitably happen in the "pure" independent Left party(or vanguardist cadre) that genstrike dreams of.  Always does.

And where, pray tell, did I say we need a '"pure" independent Left party' or 'vanguardist cadre'?

The NDP doesn't represent my views and often acts contrary to my interests and views, even going so far as to try to infiltrate and in some cases elected NDP politicians even denounce activist projects that I'm involved in and have gone as far as calling for them to be banned.  Also, I don't think entryism is a good tactic for serious radicals, so I'm not in the NDP (anymore), and that also means I'm not a big fan of the IMT either.

Also, I do think that things like this can be avoided with a differently structured movement, party, or whatever.  I'm not an expert on the internal structure of Quebec Solidaire, but I am under the impression that they allow factions and caucuses to operate openly and even grant them an official status - including an IMT caucus (that is not an endorsement of QS or the IMT, simply one example of a party which doesn't do this sort of thing to the best of my knowledge).

Unionist

Ken Burch wrote:

And, of course, the SAME thing will inevitably happen in the "pure" independent Left party(or vanguardist cadre) that genstrike dreams of.  Always does.

Kind of an unwarranted statement, no?

Genstrike is a young and rather fearless activist, from what I can see. I support him 100%, no matter what you or I think he may "dream" of. We need way more people like him. That doesn't mean I share some or even any of his views about IMT or entryism or other things of which I know nothing (though I vaguely and un-nostagically recall such debates from my distant youth). I absolutely don't care what his particular "ideology" is, and in general I dislike the sectarian categorization of people on the left.

In short, Ken, why not retract your remark, which is entirely unlike any other comment I've seen you make. You and genstrike and I are allies. That's really all that matters.

 

Cueball Cueball's picture

Nicko wrote:

Quote:
Comrades and Friends,

Since it was founded less than a year ago, the Toronto Young New Democrats (TYND) have become the single most successful NDP youth club to exist in Ontario for the last ten years. By reaching out to community groups and providing a democratic forum for the inclusion of all, we have gained a sizable base in areas that normally never see a political party outside of an election. The Esplanade, St. James Town, Lawrence Heights, just to name a few. Everyone who has become involved in the TYND, and all our supporters, should be extremely proud of building the base of the NDP amongst those who need a voice the most.

But, I am sad to say, this work, this great club, is under attack. Last night, at a secret "In Camera" executive meeting of the Ontario New Democratic Youth (ONDY), a resolution (included below) was passed that de-chartered the TYND club. Our club was vaguely charged with violating Article XIV, Section 1(a), intentionally misrepresenting policies of the NDP or ONDY. We were not allowed to know the specifics of the charges, see the evidence or face our accusers, despite repeatedly demanding our rights and protesting against the secrecy. The meeting was held "In Camera" meaning that it is technically prohibited for me to even tell the members of the very club that now, as far as the ONDY co-chairs are concerned, no longer exists, why it is that our charter has been removed!

A more blatant attack on democracy is hard to imagine. The co-chairs of the TYND arrived at the meeting with absolutely no information, the evidence presented was one sided and slanderous, and because it was kept hidden from us, because our basic freedoms were denied us, we lacked the ability to produce evidence of our own or prepare a defence. This is a total abrogation of our rights as defined in the ONDY constitution, the ONDP constitution and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. We in no way recognize or validate this illegal decision or the cowardly and secretive way it was made. After making statements against this disgusting process, Jennie Ernewein and myself, co-chairs of the TYND, walked out of the meeting. It should be noted that including our rejection of this process and the resolution that came out of it, the final vote was 5 in favour, 4 against with 1 abstention. This does not meet the 2/3 requirement of the ONDY constitution for de-chartering a club. Yet another breach of the rights of TYND members done by these bureaucrats.

We are accused of having an "allegiance to Fightback" and we are told in the resolution that the TYND must "demonstrably separate itself from Fightback." Fightback is a magazine made up entirely of NDP members. Several TYND members have been published in its pages and it has been an excellent organizing tool for the TYND. NDP members have also been published in the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, The National Post, Rabble, Now Magazine and a host of other publications and also the Party has a vast network of bloggers who make up a healthy grassroots level of opinion and expression. Is the ONDY going to start to suppress all forms of expression because the opinions expressed may differ from those of the ONDY Co-chairs? Is this what the ONDY is becoming, that exercising free speech is considered a crime?

We defend the inalienable democratic right of members of our Party to be free to advocate their beliefs, and we reject any kind of thought police that seeks to instigate witch hunts against honest activists. If the ONDY Co-chairs disagree with the policies that our club has democratically adopted through our membership meetings, then they are welcome to attend and put forward their own views. That is the tradition of our Party and of the Labour movement. We believe in the right to openly and honestly defend your views and then to take a vote to decide the direction of our Party organizations.

The TYND has worked with a great many community groups, the Canadian Peace Alliance, the Toronto and York Region Labour Council, The Esplanade Community Group, the Latin American Peace Initiative, and many more. All these groups contain NDP members, and no community group is 100% in line with Party talking points. Should Party members in these groups be subject to secret tribunals as well? The TYND believes that it is good for the Party to reach out to, and to include, outside community groups in our Party by allowing them to take part in shaping our policies through an open democratic process. This is how we build and how we bring others into the NDP.

Instead, we are met with secrecy, the violation of our democratic rights and slanders and attacks on freedom of speech and freedom of the press. This is not the kind of ONDY we want.

We want an ONDY built on reaching out to different community groups and bringing them into our Party. We believe in building an organization that can be the democratic forum that progressive forces need to honestly share their views, and form common goals. We believe it is through democracy and activism that new layers of youth can be brought into the NDP at a time when we need change more than ever.

The ONDY Co-chairs want to sabotage this work from the dark. They wish to destroy the most successful youth club because they are too afraid to fight us in the realm of ideas and open democracy. We will not allow our Party to be disgraced by such people.

We call on all honest youth activists to help fight against this secret and anti-democratic attack. Moreover, we encourage all young workers and students who want the opportunity to have their voices heard in their own Party, to get involved and to fight for a better future for all of us.

The TYND will be holding an Emergency meeting this Friday at the Imperial Pub (at Dundas and Yonge) at 7pm to discuss this situation and the upcoming ONDY Convention. Real change, change that really matters, never comes easy or without a fight, but the TYND and those who support real activism in the NDP youth can make such a change for the better.

For an activist and democratic ONDY!

In Solidarity,
Julian Benson and Jennie Ernewein
TYND Co-chairs

Whereas the Toronto Young New Democrats (TYND) have a duty, as a chartered Ontario New Democratic Youth (ONDY) club, to uphold and promote the policies, program, and principles of Ontario's and Canada's New Democrats; and

Whereas all members of the Party have ample opportunity to voice their individual opinions on policies, programs, and principles through such methods as ONDY's Convention, Provincial Councils, and the Conventions of Ontario's and Canada's New Democrats; and

Whereas an individual's or group's demonstrable membership in or allegiance with a group that promotes policies, programs, or principles that are contrary to those of Ontario's and Canada's New Democrats is in violation of a member's or group's duty to the Party; and

Whereas TYND has aligned itself, both as a club and via individual actions of the club's leadership, with the organization known as Fightback; and

Whereas Fightback promotes policies, programs, and principles that, though connected to, are fundamentally at odds with those of Ontario's and Canada's New Democrats; and

Whereas TYND's allegiance with Fightback reflects poorly on Ontario's and Canada's New Democrats, their elected representatives in the Greater Toronto Area, and those seeking election in the Greater

Toronto Area, by way of promoting policies, programs, and principles under the New Democratic banner that are not necessarily those held by Ontario's or Canada's New Democrats; and

Whereas the actions of some members, and specifically the leaders, of TYND within Fightback are a demonstrable conflict of interest between the policies, program, and principles of Ontario's and Canada's New Democrats and those of Fightback;

Be it resolved that TYND's allegiance with Fightback presents a violation of Article XIV, Section 1(a) of the Constitution of the Ontario New Democratic Youth, which establishes the requirement to de-charter any club which "Intentionally misrepresent[s] the policies, program, or principles of the NDP or the ONDY"; and

Be it further resolved that ONDY revokes the charter granted to TYND in the 2009-10 period, and further withholds re-chartering from TYND until such a time as the club demonstrably separates itself from Fightback.

Fuck the NDP. If you have the email addressess and phone numbers just call your organization something else. Formally resign from the NDP en masse and keep going forward!

Cueball Cueball's picture

jrootham wrote:

Having had a look at the Fightback web site, I think the question is whether they would be distinguishable from the CPC(ML) or some similar organization.

I am inclined to object to the ONDY action on democracy grounds, but I would certainly like some details from the other side before passing judgement.

 

If you are going to engage in sectarian leftist mudslinging at least learn something about the ideological foundations of the different factions. Fightback is a Trotskyiest organization. That fellow pictured at the top of the web site with the spectacles is Leon Trotsky. He pre-dates Stephen Lewis by two generations at least. Anyway, the CPC(M-L) is a Leninist organization that is an opponent of the Trotskyiest factions, such as Fightback.

genstrike

Cueball wrote:

If you are going to engage in sectarian leftist mudslinging at least learn something about the ideological foundations of the different factions. Fightback is a Trotskyiest organization. That fellow pictured at the top of the web site with the spectacles is Leon Trotsky. He pre-dates Stephen Lewis by two generations at least. Anyway, the CPC(M-L) is a Leninist organization that is an opponent of the Trotskyiest factions, such as Fightback.

To be a bit more specific, the CPC-ML has their roots in Maoism, later siding with Hoxha's Albania during the Sino-Soviet split.  The figure they probably revere the most is Hardial Bains (also known as "Hardly No-Brains" to some)

a lonely worker

Proof again of the NDP's move to become the new Liberal Party of Canada. McCarthy would be proud.

 

 

 

 

 

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

I remember, many years ago now, when the YND had a Convention in Winnipeg. The most interesting activists present were from Quebec who, naturally enough, had a mixture of nationalistic, separatist and similar views. They were very much to the left of the NDP itself, of course.Youth political organizations are often like this.

What was amusing to me was the pretense and bullshit around the National Question. The Quebec delegates/guests/whatever they were/ were crystal clear on an issue that the (parent) party lagged hopelessly behind on. So, when the national media arrived a brave, but totally bullshit, front went up around this issue.

Anyway, I've been sympathetic to such activists ever since ... and the bull they often have to put up with. As Cueball noted, screw the NDP and simply move on with a new name, whatever. Keep the activism going and good luck to you. Don't bother looking behind you. That would be a waste of time.

Fidel

a lonely worker wrote:

Proof again of the NDP's move to become the new Liberal Party of Canada. McCarthy would be proud.

What's a Liberal? Bwahaha

So as as soon as Trotsky's kids overthrow the fourth party in Ottawa, the NDP, will they finally decide to tackle the suits on Bay Street controlling those two redundant conservative parties?

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

As long as they remain political activists on the left then the NDPers here will wish them well, right?

lol.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

And, of course, the SAME thing will inevitably happen in new "independent left" groupings at some point.  What the ONDY is doing to the TNDY is wrong, but it's part of a recurrent pattern.  Anybody have any thoughts on how to actually break that cycle?

Forming a party to compete with the NDP on the left in Toronto would likely just lead to another "re-inventing the wheel" process.

Fidel

Yeah I'm pretty sure that's what Marx said. Socialism in one province!! And overthrow the fourth party in Ottawa!! Let's do a job for Bay Street and the bullshit "Liberal" Party, those lying phony bastards.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Unionist wrote:

Ken Burch wrote:

And, of course, the SAME thing will inevitably happen in the "pure" independent Left party(or vanguardist cadre) that genstrike dreams of.  Always does.

Kind of an unwarranted statement, no?

Genstrike is a young and rather fearless activist, from what I can see. I support him 100%, no matter what you or I think he may "dream" of. We need way more people like him. That doesn't mean I share some or even any of his views about IMT or entryism or other things of which I know nothing (though I vaguely and un-nostagically recall such debates from my distant youth). I absolutely don't care what his particular "ideology" is, and in general I dislike the sectarian categorization of people on the left.

In short, Ken, why not retract your remark, which is entirely unlike any other comment I've seen you make. You and genstrike and I are allies. That's really all that matters.

 

I oppose what the ONDY is doing to the Toronto group.  And I think that left parties SHOULD allow factions and caucuses.  All I was saying was that this tends to be something that always ends up happening at some points in the development of left and centre-left groupings.  At some point, careerism and cynical insiderism come to the fore and the notion of shutting up dissidents tends to occur.  I'll reword my post to make it less personal towards genstrike, but what I was saying is that this seems always to happen at SOME point in any left party's development.  It shouldn't, but it does, and there doesn't seem to be any liklihood of breaking this cycle.

 

KenS

I am more than uncomfortable what the ONDY did.

But if genstrike is right that this was classic entryism, its a conundrum.

I dont know how many of you have been around for entryist takeover or paralyzation of meetings, but its not something conducive to the organization in question doing anything.

Its not only political parties that have resorted to expelling groups of entryists. I remember coming into a group in the Nineties, and being surprised then that there are still people doing this. This was a large group composed almost entirely of young activists and my first thought as I watched was "do they know what these people are doing?" But they already had plenty of exposure and knew.

Nicko

It's a shame the NDP is so highly centralized and insistent on conformity that they don't allow factions or tendencies to be organized openly the way the Australian Labor Party or French Socialist Party does. Of course, Fightback's lack of sophistication doesn't help matters, neither does their clumsy cloak and daggerism. If you're going to pretend not to be a party within a party and go around claiming "we're just a newspaper, honest" then don't trump up your connections with the IMT which is well known internationally for practising entrism. If you're going to be a secret party then learn how to act secretly. If you're going to be open, then act openly and don't lie to people by saying you're just a newspaper when it's bloody obvious you're not. And the toytown Bolshevism, playing dressup as if it's 1917, brandishing hammers and sickles and pretending to be rrrrevolutionaries while pushing social democracy is just embarassing as is the obsequious personality cult built around leader Alex Grant (who likes to dress up like a Bolshevik superman).

I used to be in Fightback but had to leave because Alex's ego was just too much to bear and, unfortunately, for all the pretence about democracy, Alex calls all the shots. But it's easy to do that when you're an arrogant middle aged guy in a party made up almost entirely of kids.

Unionist

Thanks for the amendment, Ken Burch. Other than that, I agree with you. Splitting the left up into "parties" for whom organizational integrity and unquestioning loyalty is more important than debate, discussion, and united action is quite the curse. Young people should tell the NDP, and all the others for that matter, that if they can't encompass the broad scope of ideas and action that the youth are up for, then it's the party's loss.

 

siamdave

Unionist wrote:

Thanks for the amendment, Ken Burch. Other than that, I agree with you. Splitting the left up into "parties" for whom organizational integrity and unquestioning loyalty is more important than debate, discussion, and united action is quite the curse. Young people should tell the NDP, and all the others for that matter, that if they can't encompass the broad scope of ideas and action that the youth are up for, then it's the party's loss.

- that seems contradictory - you say 'splitting the party up is a curse' - and then - basically, tell them to go for it, it's the party's loss - which seems to indicate approval of splitting off ?????

- but in a much bigger sense - does anyone on the left not understand the concept of 'divide and conquer' ????? It seems the people running our society understand it well enough - but what is going on with "progressives" ? We have any number of factions, saying everyone must agree with their particular agenda - and nobody apparently able to see that we need to get over the petty differences and think about 'the greater good' or something. 

Does anyone on the left understand that Democracy is the key thing here? Let's get together and fight for Democracy - and then let the will of the well-informed, engaged populace set the direction of our country!

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

I just don't understand why the Ontario NDP can't get any traction with voters. My first convention was an Ont. NDP convention.  I ripped up my card on Sunday morning and threw it on the table and didn't have anything to do with the NDP for over a decade.  

Democracy instead of back room operators is the problem.  At my convention in '72 we young activists and lefties managed on the Saturday to get a resolution passed that said the Ont. NDP would only sit members of the party as delegates no non-members allowed.  Those rules were in effect in most provincial NDP parties at the time.  After a close hard fought floor vote on Saturday on Sunday every single union delegate was there at the first opening of business (many of you understand how unusual this is on a Sunday) and Stephen lewis got up and explained there had been a procedural error made the day before and the vote had to be redone t=right then and there. So you understand the context the heads of the UAW and the Steelworkers who were at the convention were members of the Liberal party and they were directing the votes of their delegates. 

The NDP has not ben a democratic party in its provincial wings for a very very long time.  I still vote for them because they are still better than the Libs but they excite no one because no one believes they have any internal democracy.  The Ont. NDP has the same type of democracy that CLAC has. If you can't tell the difference between a facade and a real structural feature you aren't looking very close.

George Victor

Heck, the CCF had to take similar action in the 40s and 50s when it still advocated nationalization of industry. Wink

And so it goes.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Moving to Central Canada

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

You are? Damn, yet another Central Canadian Overlord to contend with.Wink

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

George Victor wrote:

Heck, the CCF had to take similar action in the 40s and 50s when it still advocated nationalization of industry. Wink

And so it goes.

Yes and it has led to such great success electorally for the federal CCF/NDP.  Tongue out

Doing things that don't work over and over while expecting a different outcome is a definition of insanity IMO.

Polunatic2

Quote:
Doing things that don't work over and over while expecting a different outcome is a definition of insanity IMO.

That would equally apply to "entryism" as a political strategy. 

remind remind's picture

According to post # 19, it is a damn good thing IMV that the ONNDY got rid of what appears to be a whacked out cult trying to take it over. A leader of a youth group that is in his middle years is just damn creepy. The comments about him make it even more creepy.

siamdave, the left has always been weak when it comes to 'helpful' whispers that divide and conquer. I have watched/heard it for  decades now. Kinda like that segment in Lord of the Rings, where that evil wizard 'advisor' whispers self destructive hate into the King's ear.

Polunatic2

More politics of victimization. People join something they don't believe in (a social democratic party), try to "transform" it into something that it is not and then act surprised when they're read the riot act. Age has nothing to do with it imho. 

Fightback makes no endorsement in Toronto's mayor's race. While they make some valid points in their analysis, their attacks on Pantalone at a time when all hands are needed on deck pretty much say it all. 

I also don't see any mention of the need for electoral reform at any level of politics in Canada. Wait, I did find this attack on proportional representation as a "diversion" that could lead to coalitions. 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

And Remind that is why I used the story I did.  Democracy in Canada seems to mean join a party and accept what the back room operators present and work your butt off to have THEIR views implemented. The Ont. NDP fought to keep liberals in its conventions but kicks out socialists who want a more left party.   How's that working for the NDP?  Many election wins federally since they threw out the Waffle and periodically every other socialist who presents left ideas?

Imagine the nerve of those young leftists to try and influence the party. They likely made the mistake of thinking the constitution in its Article 2 Principles was serious.  

"To this end we will invite the co-operation of all persons who are dedicated to the extension of freedom, the abolition of poverty and the elimination of exploitation."

At least the Ont. NDP unlike the BC NDP has dropped any reference to socialism in its constitution.  So yes I guess if are not a democratic socialist party then they wouldn't want young lefties trying to turn the discourse into one based on those old non-capitalist ideas.

Unionist

What kropotkin said, many times over.

remind remind's picture

I might agree with you Kropotkin, in other instances, but this group, from what has appeared here about them, is very creepy and cultish, and is what appears to be just a manifestation of a middle aged white man's ego.

As to the Waffle, living in memories from 4 decades ago, is not something I want to do, it serves no purpose.

edmundoconnor

The party has made up procedure on the fly in the past. To wit, how an email voting procedure was suddenly concocted for the postponing of the convention not so long ago.

The ONDP has a talent of doing the right thing, but screwing itself up so much over how the process is done, that it creates a new host of un-needed enemies.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

remind wrote:

I might agree with you Kropotkin, in other instances, but this group, from what has appeared here about them, is very creepy and cultish, and is what appears to be just a manifestation of a middle aged white man's ego.

As to the Waffle, living in memories from 4 decades ago, is not something I want to do, it serves no purpose.

I have not met any of these people and only know what I have read on line. I personally give the young people in this group more credit than to think a middle aged white guys ego trip is the only reason they are deeply invested in left wing politics.  You may be right all these sincere young people trying to make change might just be dupes of a middle aged white guy but do you really think purging them in an undemocratic process helps?  

Given the lack of process when there is a due process supposedly in place screams to other young left activists that the NDP is not a party for any serious change actor and they better look elsewhere. The powers that be in the NDP think its better the young volunteers learn it's the phone bank for them reading a scripted message sanitized by party rulers that appeals to middle class voters.  Imagine trying to influence the parties direction. The nerve of those young people.

 

Aristotleded24

On the face of it, this does not sound good. In an era of declining voter turnout and participation, organising non-voters around issues is exactly the approach that should be taken. So the NDP is apparently purging a group that has done just that.

That's the problem with political parties is that those in charge, those who call the shots, are completely insulated from the day-to-day realities of average people. They live in their own little world. Fine for the Liberals and Conservatives because they don't speak for average people. It's a huge problem for the NDP because they claim they do.

In my involvement with the NDP, I am quite amazed at just how strategically incompotent it is.

KenS

@ edmund occonor:

Well said.

Seems to be an unparalleled talent the ONDP has.

Though I will say that entryism is so pervasive, and uses meeeting/organization process so skillfully and with scorched earth that nothing but their agenda matters, that they leave the unwilling host with no feasible choice other than expelling them.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

KenS if you are right then you get the proof to back up that allegation and you proceed under the constitution against the INDIVIDUALS who have engaged in this activity.  Purges are really unhealthy, open processes are the hallmark of a democratic organization.

From a political strategy perspective, how many elections have they won in Ontario running as a liberal lite party? 

Nicko

A response from ONDY:

Quote:
I would like to correct some of the comments that have been made.

1) In Camera sessions are designed so that an executive can work on divisive or complex issues that relate to issues of internal discipline in a free and efficient manner.... During In Camera sessions no votes are held and no official business can be conducted (read: no secret votes or shadowy trials). In Camera sessions are organizational tools and nothing more. Our votes and resolutions were done when we came out of Camera - that means in public. All resolutions and votes can be discussed as they have been published in the minutes and online.

2) The TYND Co-Chairs chose to leave the meeting before debate on the motion to de-charter TYND took place. They refused to work with the rest of the executive in the spirit of good faith and honesty. Both Liz and I made clear on multiple occasions that this meeting was not a trial it was a discussion of allegations and we would consider their merit. Had the TYND Co-Chairs bothered they could have made a motion to delay the decision until ONDYCon or to stay the de-charter for a grace period or proposed some other arrangement. Instead they chose not to engage constructively with the rest of the ONDY executive and to burn their bridges behind them. All of us would have been more than happy to find a suitable alternative but unfortunately the dialogue was poisoned by an unwillingness to even stick around and talk.

3) The final vote was 6 in favour of de-chartering, 2 abstentions, and zero opposed. Again had the TYND Co-Chairs been at all willing to engage with the rest of the executive on this issue the vote would likely have failed. One basic aspect of democracy is the vote - I find it very disingenuous of Julian and Jennie to say that democracy has been violated when they couldn't be bothered to participate in the discussion and vote for something they care about. As for our vote being a Kangaroo court - again if the TYND Co-Chairs had even put the slightest effort into defending the club the vote would have failed and TYND would still have it's charter. Kangaroo court indeed!

4) Being a highly successful youth club does not exempt you from the rules. TYND has received multiple warnings throughout the year and in the end we acted based on complaints by members of the Provincial Executive and of Provincial Office. If anyone thinks that the ONDY executive was happy to revoke TYND's charter you are profoundly mistaken! It was a contentious debate but in then end the choice was enforce to rules or don't.

5) The vote to revoke TYND's charter was perfectly constitutional. ONDY assigns and revokes club charters routinely when the Club's Co-ordinator gives a report. New clubs are assigned charters and clubs that no longer meet the criteria have their charters revoked. 99% of the time de-chartering happens because a club is defunct however, in this case the de-chartering involved the violation of the conditions under which we assigned the charter - namely abiding by the terms of the ONDY and ONDP constitutions.

6) Everyone has the right to free speech and to disagree with Party policy (believe it or not this 'bureaucrat' personally agrees that the Party is not activist enough and that we have become a bit centrist) however, when we are out in public we do not have the right to substitute Party policy with our own opinions. When we represent the Ontario New Democratic Party as ONDY or as TYND we advocate official Party policy - not ONDY policy, not TYND policy, not personal opinion - official-agreed-and-voted-on-at-Provincial-Convention Party policy. We have rules and procedures for changing Party policy and when we sign our membership cards, or when we agree to be a chartered club; we agree to abide by the policies formally acknowledged by the Party.

Looking forward to the day when TYND again meets the requirements for an ONDY club charter,
Robin Wing
ONDY Co-Chair

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Quote:

2) The TYND Co-Chairs chose to leave the meeting before debate on the motion to de-charter TYND took place. They refused to work with the rest of the executive in the spirit of good faith and honesty. Both Liz and I made clear on multiple occasions that this meeting was not a trial it was a discussion of allegations and we would consider their merit. Had the TYND Co-Chairs bothered they could have made a motion to delay the decision until ONDYCon or to stay the de-charter for a grace period or proposed some other arrangement. Instead they chose not to engage constructively with the rest of the ONDY executive and to burn their bridges behind them. All of us would have been more than happy to find a suitable alternative but unfortunately the dialogue was poisoned by an unwillingness to even stick around and talk.

 

Did they really come out of an in camera session with a Motion to De-charter and expect the people facing the motion to think that was a fair process being conducted in the spirit of good faith and honesty?  I love the passive aggressive nature of this.  Why did they go to the debate on execution if they were willing to discuss other alternatives. 

WTF one side [TNDY] misrepresented the process they faced. And the other side engaged in clearly anti-democratic behaviour if they in fact gave no notice of this Motion and expected anyone to speak to it from the TNDY. 

So can someone tell me the timeline?  When was TNDY notified that they would be facing a Motion to De-charter?  

George Victor

kropotkin1951 wrote:

And Remind that is why I used the story I did.  Democracy in Canada seems to mean join a party and accept what the back room operators present and work your butt off to have THEIR views implemented. The Ont. NDP fought to keep liberals in its conventions but kicks out socialists who want a more left party.   How's that working for the NDP?  Many election wins federally since they threw out the Waffle and periodically every other socialist who presents left ideas?

Imagine the nerve of those young leftists to try and influence the party. They likely made the mistake of thinking the constitution in its Article 2 Principles was serious.  

"To this end we will invite the co-operation of all persons who are dedicated to the extension of freedom, the abolition of poverty and the elimination of exploitation."

At least the Ont. NDP unlike the BC NDP has dropped any reference to socialism in its constitution.  So yes I guess if are not a democratic socialist party then they wouldn't want young lefties trying to turn the discourse into one based on those old non-capitalist ideas.

 

I was at the gathering when the NDP union membership threw out the Waffle.  It was mortally hard to get back into action again, particularly since that same union element rejected any environmental initiatives within the NDP.  But after a bit of a sulk and participoating in the formation of the Ontario Greens (that was a mistake), I returned to the fold.

Unfortunately, some of the working people came to be supporters of the Liberal and (Great Gaia) Conservative parties, making re-election easy for the Jim Flahertys of General Motors City and elsewhere, following their union leadership...that, too, was clearly a mistake on the part of NDP leadership.  They clearly should have out-conserved what Tommy called Tweedledum and Tweedledee. Mind you, they did not have to go so far as go along with knocking 21 per cent off the income of people on welfare in Ontario in pursuit of big Mike's Common Sense Revolution.

But the revolutionary spirit has lagged often, in this fashion...again, no doubt because the NDP messages in defence of a welfare state were unheard during the general economic collapse of the early 90s, and the bitterness of those union people determined to pay off those bastards who put them on a Rae Days' regimen.

The degree to which so many ignore such historical economic facts when given their ideological head in threads such as this, confirm for me that the left is living on borrowed time.

When the ideologues, hereabouts, can actually begin to empathize with the threatened wage earners in a private world that is next to economic collapse, and talk about realizeable remedies to the threats they face in the real world , we can all take hope.

 

genstrike

KenS wrote:

I am more than uncomfortable what the ONDY did.

But if genstrike is right that this was classic entryism, its a conundrum.

I dont know how many of you have been around for entryist takeover or paralyzation of meetings, but its not something conducive to the organization in question doing anything.

Its not only political parties that have resorted to expelling groups of entryists. I remember coming into a group in the Nineties, and being surprised then that there are still people doing this. This was a large group composed almost entirely of young activists and my first thought as I watched was "do they know what these people are doing?" But they already had plenty of exposure and knew.

I'm not sure, I think in some cases, entryism, when done in a decent manner, can be productive.  For example, people joining a group with the intention of genuinely helping advance that particular struggle, and while not trying to take it over, not being shy about their politics either.  There's a big difference between that and wrecking things in a cynical ploy to get recruits or get their banner at the front of the crowd.

I haven't seen the operation of the IMT in person, however, I'm inclined to believe it leans towards the latter.  But to be honest, I also don't have too much sympathy for the NDP either.

Polunatic2 wrote:

Fightback makes no endorsement in Toronto's mayor's race. While they make some valid points in their analysis, their attacks on Pantalone at a time when all hands are needed on deck pretty much say it all.

I also don't see any mention of the need for electoral reform at any level of politics in Canada. Wait, I did find this attack on proportional representation as a "diversion" that could lead to coalitions.

I don't know, I think their comments on Pantalone are fair enough - I feel a lot of similar things about Judy W-L in Winnipeg, a campaign that a lot of lefties are really excited about, plus lingering frustration over her ghastly record on Palestine to boot.  And I think they have a point when it comes to PR - it's sold by some lefties as a cure-all for all of Canada's woes, but for a lot of reasons I don't think it is.  Are you suggesting that in order to be a true leftie, one has to uncritically support Joe Pantalone and get really excited about PR?

genstrike

George Victor wrote:

When the ideologues, hereabouts, can actually begin to empathize with the threatened wage earners in a private world that is next to economic collapse, and talk about realizeable remedies to the threats they face in the real world , we can all take hope.

First, I'm not a fan of the word "ideologue".  Everyone has an ideology, whether they know it or not.

Second, when will the soft, fuzzy, "non-ideological" social democrats start empathizing and talking about these threats or realizable remedies to them?  I see more serious solutions coming out of activist groups and little far-left groups than I see coming out of the Manitoba NDP.

Polunatic2

Quote:
Are you suggesting that in order to be a true leftie, one has to uncritically support Joe Pantalone and get really excited about PR?

I'm suggesting that it's dishonest to join an electoral party when one is aloof about electoral politics. Suggesting that all the NDP needs to do is shift left and that they could win a (phony) majority government is naive. Buying into "winner take all" electoral politics (which keeps NDP voters chronically under-represented) is an anti-democratic position.  Suggesting that it doesn't matter who wins the mayoral race because no one is good enough is just plain wrong and does no service to the NDP. 

Malcolm Malcolm's picture

edmundoconnor wrote:

The ONDP has a talent of doing the right thing, but screwing itself up so much over how the process is done, that it creates a new host of un-needed enemies.

 

Doing the right (or at least necessary) thing incompetently.

In Saskatchewan, we dealt with the Waffle by defeating them on the convention floor on a series of policy votes.  They walked out - with Allan Blakeney standing at a mic and pleading with them to stay.

A few years ago, the Socialist Causus was still peddling the line that "the Waffle was expelled" which, while true in SOME parts of the party, was NOT true across the board.  (Of course, the SC is even more Torontocentric than the Toronto Star.

I have no doubt that the ONDY completely screwed up the process here.  The evidence available suggests (though not conclusively) that this may have been the correct outcome.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

In the NDP the tradition is that you may only diverge from NDP policy if it is a divergence towards the centre of the spectrum.  In BC every week Moe Sihota is introduced as the President of the BC NDP and every week he spouts views that are clearly to the right of the party policy and its members convention resolutions.  That is perfectly acceptable and the reason the right wing CBC loves to have him on its panel.  Every week he shows the people that policy and platform mean nothing and that pragmatism as seen through Moe and his buddies eyes will be put into play not some left wing drivel. Go Moe Go you may yet help snatch defeat from the jaws of victory one more time.

As for a provincial party trying to tell its members or even its clubs who the "unofficial" NDP candidate is and that they have to support them, I don't understand where they think they have that authority from. Correct me if I am wrong but their is no official NDP candidate in this race is there?  In Vancouver the Vision people telling other NDP members they shouldn't support COPE is about as bad as it gets.  Internal party fights over support for one municipal candidate or another is petty unless of course there is an NDP candidate.

So can anyone answer a couple of questions for me?

Was notification of the Motion to De-Charter given  to the TNDY prior to the meeting? and if it was did it disclose the evidence that had been presented when the Motion was drafted?

Does the NDP run candidates in municipal elections?  

Malcolm Malcolm's picture

In some places, the NDP has run candidates municipally, though I'm not aware of anywhere this has been a consistent practice.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Malcolm wrote:

edmundoconnor wrote:

The ONDP has a talent of doing the right thing, but screwing itself up so much over how the process is done, that it creates a new host of un-needed enemies.

 

Doing the right (or at least necessary) thing incompetently.

In Saskatchewan, we dealt with the Waffle by defeating them on the convention floor on a series of policy votes.  They walked out - with Allan Blakeney standing at a mic and pleading with them to stay.

A few years ago, the Socialist Causus was still peddling the line that "the Waffle was expelled" which, while true in SOME parts of the party, was NOT true across the board.  (Of course, the SC is even more Torontocentric than the Toronto Star.

I have no doubt that the ONDY completely screwed up the process here.  The evidence available suggests (though not conclusively) that this may have been the correct outcome.

 

Well, however it happened, there were NO positive consequences of the Waffle's departure.  When they left, the NDP[s leadership pretty much gave up trying to make Canada a different society(and doesn't seem to care anymore about the large majority of the rank-and-file in the party that still wants a radical alternative).  The leaders have mainly been about well-meaning bland mush ever since.  That's all the people who opposed the Waffle ever wanted.  None of them wanted a radical future.  None could be capable of being passionately antiracist or antimilitarist.  And it goes without saying that people who want balanced budgets can't care about poverty or the environment.  Roy Romanow's 1990's "NDP" government in Sask proves that.  That government did everything Devine would have done.

Without radicalism, without a bold alternative vision, what's the POINT of electing an NDP government?  Clearly Manitoba proves that an anti-left NDP leadership is going to be just like the Tories and Liberals.  You actually can't TELL Manitoba's government was elected by workers and the poor.  You can't present yourself as bland and "safe" and still do anything that advances life.

Jack's a nice guy, but there's no future  for the NDP in putting "looking safe" before everything else.  Look at how pointless it's now proven to be that Nova Scotia's government claims to be NDP.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Remember, also, that the battle to drive the Waffle out occurred in the same era when, to the party's eternal shame, David Lewis AND Tommy Douglas were working the floor of the NDP convention to stop the party electing a black woman, Rosemary Brown, as leader.

Fat lot of good that victory for the Caucasian phallocracy did, since all the party gained by electing the bland white guy instead was a trivial increase in votes from 15% to 20%.  There's no way the NDP would have done worse with Rosemary, since nobody who would even have thought of voting for the party would have insisted that its leader be white and male.  And as a result of that choice, people of color stayed away from the NDP for another generation.

Those were TWO chances the NDP had to matter, and both times, it chose to be irrelevant and meaningless instead.

Evening Star

Ken Burch wrote:

Fat lot of good that victory for the Caucasian phallocracy did, since all the party gained by electing the bland white guy instead was a trivial increase in votes from 15% to 20%.  There's no way the NDP would have done worse with Rosemary, since nobody who would even have thought of voting for the party would have insisted that its leader be white and male.

I'm too young to have been around but was this necessarily true of all the NDP's working-class or rural Western base?  (Sincere question.  I honestly have no idea.)  Also, that "trivial increase" under Broadbent was the best the party ever did, wasn't it?

remind remind's picture

Evening Star wrote:
Ken Burch wrote:
Fat lot of good that victory for the Caucasian phallocracy did, since all the party gained by electing the bland white guy instead was a trivial increase in votes from 15% to 20%.  There's no way the NDP would have done worse with Rosemary, since nobody who would even have thought of voting for the party would have insisted that its leader be white and male.

I'm too young to have been around but was this necessarily true of all the NDP's working-class or rural Western base?  (Sincere question.  I honestly have no idea.)  Also, that "trivial increase" under Broadbent was the best the party ever did, wasn't it?

No, it is not true Evening Star, as it is not even true today, let alone way back when....and yes it was.

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