Socialist or merely social

Joanna Smith previews this weekend’s existential crisis.

New Democrats are preparing to cast off the shackles of the socialist label by eliminating the word from the federal party constitution at a policy convention this weekend. “The New Democratic Party is dedicated to the application of social democratic principles to government,” reads part of a proposed new preamble to the party constitution, which will be voted on at the 50th anniversary convention in downtown Vancouver. “These principles include an unwavering commitment to economic and social equality, individual freedom and responsibility, and democratic rights of citizens to shape the future of their communities.”

That language is much different from what exists in the current version of the constitution, where the principles of “democratic socialism” are described as being against making profits and for social ownership.

In full, the new preamble would read as follows.

The New Democratic Party believes that social justice, equality, and environmental sustainability are vital to achieving a strong, united and prosperous Canada for all. To that end, the New Democratic Party is dedicated to the application of social democratic principles to government.

These principles include an unwavering commitment to economic and social equality, individual freedom and responsibility, and democratic rights of citizens to shape the future of their communities. New Democrats hold firm to the belief that individual freedom and dignity are basic rights that find the fullest expression in healthy and prosperous communities, where individuals can realize their full potential and contribute to a stronger Canada.

Established in partnership with the Labour movement in 1961, the New Democratic Party is the voice of working people in the Parliament of Canada, advocating and implementing laws that advance their collective and individual interests. New Democrats are proud to stand in solidarity with its allies around the world working for international peace and justice, ending discrimination and exploitation, eliminating poverty and ensuring that wealth and power are in the hands of the many and not the few.

For the sake of comparison, the Conservative party’s “founding principles” are listed here.




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Socialist or merely social

  1. When you define yourself politically, it matters a great deal where you put the adjective and where you put the noun.

    ‘Social democratic’  is pretty much ‘third way’ which is what we are now.

  2. The truth will lie in their policies and their rhetoric. So far, nothing on those two fronts has changed, so I’ll be calling them socialists until they prove otherwise. Changing the wording of a document doesn’t do that.

    • “Social democratic” just means a socialist who believes in democracy.  Big hairy deal. Nice to hear that the NDP aren’t Stalinists.

      • Well, we still call you guys Reform. LOL

        • I’m going with the Social Conservative Party. 

          • LOL maybe just the Regressives….goodness knows they’ve called themselves everything but what they are.

  3. I think both the federal NDP (and its provincial cousin in Ontario) will try to move the party toward the centre.  This may disappoint the Che Guevarra geeks who long for a utopian socialist society.  The new NDP (NNDP) will not have any room for those who yearn for societal income and social redistribution.  The “socialists” may leave the party.  However, for every socialist that leaves, the NDP will hope to pick up two or more progressive-centrist supporters.

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