No More Politics As Usual

A new, progressive political initiative with major implications for the NewDemocratic Party hit the Internet this week. Calling on the NDP to create anew political party, the New Politics Initiative (NPI) wants to unite the left under one banner, organizing activists from both inside and outside the NDP. Though it won't officially launch in Ottawa until June 20, the NPI Website offers a preview of what's to come.

In its call to action the NPI states: "A growing political movement needs astrong political party to roll back corporate power, and restore decency,sustainability, and real democracy to our lives. We need a political partythat is open. We need a party based on the idea that change happens not justby contesting elections. For real change, we must involve Canadians in abroader citizens' movement for more choices in our democracy, in oureconomy, and in our lives. The New Democratic Party can take up this radicalchallenge."

While the NPI Vision Statement includes a series of policy proposals, itsmost interesting feature is a call for a new kind of politics: "We believeour party must provide an alternative to corporate-dominated politicalmachines, not just to the policies they represent. In other words, we need anew politics - not just new policies."

I am an enthusiastic supporter of this initiative, along with NDP Member ofParliament Svend Robinson and many others. A small but diverse group ofactivists has been developing the initiative over the last few months. TheWebsite went up on June 1 and e-mails inviting people to endorse began togo out on June 4.

Since Seattle and Quebec City, there's a growing sense of confidence on theleft and the New Politics Initiative, bold and radical in its direction,reflects that. That energy and optimism is best summed up the NPI's ownvision statement:

"The NDP has reached a historic juncture. It is time to reconstitute thisparty, time to learn from its past mistakes. It is time to reach out to thelegions of social change campaigners who presently see no future inconventional party politics, but also time to harness and reorient theenergies of the solid committed people who still work within the NDP.Together we can build a force that will move mountains - reinspiring avision of a just and sustainable future, rejecting the selfishness andcynicism of the corporate-dominated model, and above all reaffirming theconviction that empowered communities can win great things for themselves."

Judy Rebick is the publisher of rabble.ca.

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