At, we usually let our readers and our writers speak for us. The people who work on rabble, paid and volunteer, have never before spoken out as a group. Of course, our choice of news articles and our partners reflect our view that another Canada and another world are possible. But on the eve of this federal election, we want you, our readers, to know where we stand.

Our discussion board, babble has been bursting with debate almost from day one of the election. More than 10,000 posts have passionately discussed whether or not Jack Layton is a good leader; whether the Greens are a left-wing alternative; whether strategic voting makes sense and many other issues. This is a change from when rabble was first launched in April 2001. Then, many of our readers would have written off electoral politics as irrelevant. It is a change we are happy to see.

We think a lot is at stake in this election. In Stephen Harper, we are at risk of having a Prime Minister who will turn the country in exactly the opposite direction that we would like to see. We also know that we have an opportunity now to begin building a real left alternative in this country with Jack Layton at the helm of the NDP. Jack has not only created more energy in the party, he has also attracted a wide range of young anti-globalization activists and won back some older activists who have wanted to see the party be bolder for a long time. Not to mention — he is a founding rabble-rouser! We share the enthusiasm for the changes he is trying to make.

Jack Layton and NDP candidates across the country are asking Canadians to give them a central role in the new government. In other times, a “central role” for the NDP was the essential political ingredient in Canadians’ most valued social progress.

Because people voted NDP (and CCF) in large enough numbers, minority Liberal and Conservative governments launched medicare, the Canada Pension Plan, Canada Student Loans, federal support for higher education, the Royal Commission on the Status of Women, regional development and the watershed Mackenzie River pipeline inquiry that opened up a new era in aboriginal rights.

During this campaign, has published information on progressive policies that got little attention elsewhere. We have spoken against so-called “strategic voting” which is a recipe for keeping progressive and community voices away from the halls of power.

With this in mind, we have decided to make an endorsement. For the first time, in this 2004 federal election, is endorsing Jack Layton and Canada’s New Democrats right across the country.

At we know that elections are not the only arena for social change. Unlike the mainstream media we pay lots of attention to protests, social movements, trade union struggles and the views of those who usually donâe(TM)t get heard. But we also believe that elections are important.

Progressive people can make a difference — but not by voting Liberal or Conservative. We believe our country can move forward if enough of us vote for the NDP on Monday, June 28.

Claudia De Simone, volunteer assistant
Sharon Fraser, editor
Judy Rebick, publisher
Jane Will, webmistress
Audra Trower Williams, babble moderator