Monday, December 14, 2009

What Should We Do to Help Build a New Left?

In the latest issue of Relay, Greg Albo and Herman Rosenfeld of the Socialist Project posit the question of rebuilding the left and propose four main points for the Canadian left to start work on. The following is a short summary of their article.

"The defeat of the Left and the workers’ movement dates from the end of the post-war boom and the militant attempts through the 1970s to develop alternatives in multiple forms – a radicalized social democracy, reform communism, liberation struggles carrying the banner of socialism, workers’ control and participatory democracy movements, and still others. The ascendancy of neoliberalism to revitalize capitalist power as a response to these developments still haunts us. This also has deeper roots in the often ossified ways that Marxism was translated into the political, cultural and economic realities of developed capitalist society.

These are part of our difficulty in developing a ‘21st century socialist’ vision, and in finding ways to apply socialist thinking today to the needs of segmented and unorganized working classes.

We could do much worse than start with the following, which constitute a very small part of what needs to be done.

First, there is no way to avoid sustained building of alternate communications, publications and educative capacities for socialist ideas and analysis.

Second, there is a need to work among the different segments of the working class, gaining a deeper understanding of how to build class unity and how to mobilize and inspire workers to fight-back.

Third, socialist approaches to the environmental crisis need to be explored and movements built around them, and challenge the ecology movement’s drift toward its vulgar embrace of market solutions and its utopian and nativist vision of localist enclaves. 

Fourth, there is a political urgency to working together as socialists to build toward higher forms of unity: the era of small group attitudes and organizing around a singular issues is, at long last after decades of isolation and marginalization, over. 

In the actions taken today in the building a new correlation of political forces, in our workplaces and communities, the constricting grip of neoliberalism might at last be broken, and new kinds of political futures again be explored."

Full Relay article
Latest issue of Relay

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