Socialism not just a word

It's not easy to shake NDP's past political baggage.

To the Editor,

Re: NDP soul search going nowhere (B.C. Views, Aug. 1)

A significant aspect of NDP post-election soul searching, following its catastrophic defeat by the forces of free enterprise, will no doubt have to be coming to terms with the need to move the party further to the centre, away from its ideological far left-wing base.

While the federal NDP appears to have decided to delete references to “socialism” from its guiding party preamble to make it more palatable politically and competitive electorally, merely removing socialism as a founding principle, without jettisoning its politically outdated doctrine, will not convince Canadians that the NDP is anything but a socialist party.

Confronted with the political reality of the concept of socialism proving itself to be an abysmal failure throughout the world, being replaced by more free enterprise, less government and less social engineering, the question naturally arises as to whether B.C.’s NDP party will be able to “jump over its own ideological shadow” and abandon its traditional stand on the principles of democratic socialism.

The party defines democratic socialism thusly in the B.C. provincial NDP constitutional preamble:

“The New Democratic Party believes that social, economic and political progress in Canada can only be assured by the application of democratic socialist principles to government and the administration of public affairs … including, where necessary, the extension of the principle of social ownership.”

Stripped of its defining political raison d’être, however, NDP soul searching to remain a legitimate electoral contender in the province would make it a journey of heading somewhere into the future without the benefit of a road map and without a clear sense of its destination … always carrying the baggage of its political past.

E.W. Bopp,

Tsawwassen