ONDY slugfest

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aka Mycroft
ONDY slugfest

The Ontario New Democratic Youth (ONDY) is having their convention this weekend and it's apparently turning into a slugfest between the hard left around the dechartered Toronto Young New Democrats and Fightback group and the outgoing ONDY leadership and right of the party. An anonymous message was evidently sent out on Facebook and email from something calling itself the Coalition Against Trotskyist Takeover (CATT) redbaiting the TYND and pushing for the passage of four resolutions. I haven't seen the actual email but the resolutions have been reposted on the TYND's facebook page:

Quote:
1. ONDY Commitments

Whereas the doctrines of Socialism, Leninism, Trotskyism, Stalinism and Maoism run opposed to the NDP and CCF's principles of social democracy and co-operation;
...
And whereas much of the history of the party has been ordinary people fighting to define a social democracy outside of the confines of socialist rhetoric, socialist hierarchy and socialist thought control;

And whereas in many countries where the doctrine of Socialism is implemented, human rights are stomped, opposition is crushed and basic human dignity is impugned;

And whereas New Democrats support a co-operative commonwealth in Canada that cannot be accomplished through Socialist hierarchy, Socialist patronage, and Socialist idealogical orthodoxy;

And whereas New Democrats believe that a co-operative commonwealth in Canada can be built through the greater co-operation of peoples at the local level, elevating up in the form of co-operative and non-profit housing, banking institutions, farm production, stores and other units of the economy;

And whereas the doctrine of Socialism's centralization of power will ensure that a social democracy and locally built economy can never have happen;

Be it resolved that we in ONDY commit to the principles of social democracy, in solidarity with generations and generations of CCF/NDPers since the party and movement was founded;

Be it further resolved that we in ONDY condemn the doctrine of Socialism as generations of CCF/NDPers have and hopefully always will.

2. Trotskyism

Whereas it is longstanding tactic of Trotskyists ever since the 1930s to attempt to takeover and hijack social democratic organizations, a tactic called "entryism";

And whereas it is often the case that Trotskyists in ONDY vote as a block, having made their mind up on an issue before discussion occurs, to pursue their goals, where non-invading ONDYers may be more independent in their thoughts or choose to be in solidarity with the ONDY as a whole;

Whereas the tactic of "entryism" can be fatal to an organization, as was the case when the NDP of Australia was taken over and dismantled by the Trotskyists, as detailed in the article "How the Trots Destroyed the Nuclear Disarmament Party" by Peter Myers;

And whereas ONDY encourages the discussion of measures to implement social democratic principles, but does not entertain those that do not have those basic principles of social democracy and co-operation because those viewpoints are not humane and are foreign to the New Democratic Party and its predecessors;

And whereas the doctrines of Socialism, Leninism, Trotskyism, Stalinism and Maoism run opposed to the NDP and CCF's principles of social democracy and co-operation;

And whereas there are many Communist political parties in Canada where Trotskyists can find a home;

Be it resolved that the Ontario New Democratic Youth approves and applauds the decision of the ONDY Executive to de-charter the Toronto Young New Democrats.

Be it further resolved that the Ontario New Democratic Youth will de-charter and dismember all Trotskyist blocks and organizations that may linger in ONDY, and actively prevent the takeover of ONDY conventions and councils.

3. Co-operative Exercises

Whereas we in ONDY believe the social democracy of our CCF/NDP is about local control, democracy, work and human dignity led by an individual sense of responsibility, solidarity and collective love;

And whereas we in ONDY believe this vision of Canada can only happen if citizens begin practicising more collective ways of living, working and playing;

Therefore be it resolved that ONDY conventions and councils include "co-operative" exercises where ONDYites participate and work together to achieve goals.

4. Committee of Social Democrats

Whereas the removal of the doctrine of Trotskyism from ONDY and its Communist centralization of power and poor treatment of people is a great stride toward the resurgence of social democracy and co-operation in ONDY that are the principles of New Democrats of the past, those greatest Canadians;

Whereas ONDYites are eager to explore co-operation and social democracy and to learn of how we can do this in our present society, soon:

Be it resolved that the ONDY convention form a committee of social democrats that will meet to learn about, research and actively do the principles of co-operation and social democracy that were articulated by the founders of the party and adapted over the years by New Democrats.

 

Apparently these resolutions come after the deadline so they may be out of order or may be shoehorned in by using some sort of procedural manouvre.

TYND is running its own slate for ONDY executive, the "Slate for a Democratic and Activist ONDY". Elections occur on Sunday.

Does anyone have any updates on what's been happening?

 

aka Mycroft

Is anyone liveblogging the convention by any chance?

Pogo

Young Democrats.  Miss those days. 

Unionist

I'm with Pogo. Remembering my misspent youth. To be honest, I don't care that much who's on which side or what they're saying (well, within limits I guess... naw, not even!). The fact that young people care enough to argue about such things brings joy to my heart. They're our future.

ETA: I love the word "ONDYites". Sounds good out loud.

ghoris

Interesting. Shades of the British Labour Party circa 1982.

robbie_dee

So with all that nasty talk against "Socialism" are they going to change the name of [url=http://www.facebook.com/pages/Socialism-Freedom-Magazine/99351439482]the magazine?[/url]

aka Mycroft

This is an interesting echo of the upcoming more to drop socialism from the prologue of the NDP's constitution.

ghoris

This is very strange. In my mind, at least, I have never equated 'Socialism' with the sort of totalitarian regimes and human rights abuses that are often associated with Communism, Marxism-Leninism, Maoism, Stalinism, etc.  Is this just a 're-branding' exercise?  Has 'Socialism' become a dirty word in Canada in the way 'Liberal' has become an epithet in the United States?

genstrike

ghoris wrote:

Has 'Socialism' become a dirty word in Canada in the way 'Liberal' has become an epithet in the United States?

Has it become a dirty word in the NDP?

Evening Star

"This is interesting, esp considering Horwath's widely publicized quote:  @font-face { font-family: "Cambria"; }p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }div.Section1 { page: Section1; }

"we New Democrats won't check our socialism at the door when it comes to building a better future."

(http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/article975856.ece)

 

Really, though, if the party isn't going to advocate collectivization of capital or public ownership of resources or industry, I don't know that they need to identify as 'socialist'.

 

 

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

My own modest proposal:

 

1. ONDY Commitments

Whereas the doctrines of Liberalism, Neoliberalism, Pro-capitalist Reformism, McCarthyism, Gomperism, Capitulationism, Third-Wayism, Parliamentary Cretinism, Market Fetishism, and Opportunism run opposed to the principles on which the NDP and CCF were founded;

...

And whereas much of the history of the party has been characterized by handing control over to self-proclaimed "social democrats" who are in reality rightist enemies of the working class and subscribers to one or more of the doctrines aforesaid;

And whereas in many countries where these self-proclaimed "social democrats" have been in power, capitalist exploitation has proceeded apace, imperialist wars have been pursued with alacrity, and the environment has been plundered for profit;

And whereas New Democrats support a co-operative commonwealth in Canada that cannot be accomplished through patchwork reforms designed to maintain the power and wealth of the ruling class;

And whereas New Democrats believe that a co-operative commonwealth in Canada can be built through the co-operative struggle of people at all levels of society against the power and privilege of the wealthy owners of capital and the means of production, and not by trying to create utopian enclaves within capitalism that allow the iron rule of capital and the market system to remain completely unchallenged;

And whereas the doctrine of social democracy's capitulation to the unfettered rule of capitalism will ensure that a society based upon true democracy, equality, and empowerment of the working people can never happen;

Be it resolved that we in ONDY commit to the principles of socialism, in solidarity with the ideals of the founders of the CCF and the most progressive, anti-imperialist political forces in Latin America and elsewhere who are struggling to free the planet from the scourge of capitalism.

Be it further resolved that we in ONDY condemn the doctrines of Liberalism and the practices of red-baiting and McCarthyism, as generations of CCF/NDPers have and hopefully always will.

 

2. Liberalism

Whereas it is a longstanding tactic of liberals and other forces of capitulation to capitalism ever since 1914 to attempt to takeover and hijack social democratic organizations and turn them into impotent reformists and supporters of imperialist war;

And whereas it is often the case that liberal opportunists in ONDY vote as a block, having made their mind up on an issue before discussion occurs, to pursue their goals, and seek to crush and expel any and all political tendencies within the ONDY that advocate a socialist course for the NDP, because they recognize party democracy as a true threat to their own personal power and privilege, and socialism as a true threat to the capitalist order which they seek to preserve at all costs;

And whereas the tactic of red-baiting and expulsion of political opponents can be fatal to an organization, as was the case when the NDP drove the Waffle movement away and carried out numerous purges of socialists and activists in the 1960s and 1970s, clearing the way for an unobstructed takeover by Opportunists, Liberals, Capitulationists, Liquidationists, and other rightist tendencies;

And whereas ONDY encourages the discussion of measures to implement a kinder, gentler, form of capitalist rule, but does not tolerate the discussion of real social change because those viewpoints are not acceptable to the wealthy and powerful to whom we pledge undying allegiance;

And whereas the doctrines of Liberalism, Neoliberalism, Pro-capitalist Reformism, McCarthyism, Gomperism, Capitulationism, Third-Wayism, Parliamentary Cretinism, Market Fetishism, and Opportunism run opposed to the development of any serious socialist movement capable of actually taking power away from the ruling plutocracy;

And whereas there are many capitalist political parties in Canada where Liberals, Reformists, Opportunists, and other defenders of the capitalist system and opponents of socialism can find a home (think Bob Rae, Buzz Hargrove, Ujjal Dosanjh, and a whole rogue's gallery of other champions of "social democracy");

Be it resolved that the Ontario New Democratic Youth approves and applauds any move to root out and expose the treachery of the right-wing capitulationists who seek to destroy the ONDY and the NDP as forces for social change.

Be it further resolved that the Ontario New Democratic Youth will de-charter and dismember all Liberal and other right-wing "entrists' who seek to subvert and prevent the development of any real alternative to the horrors of capitalist waste, destruction, exploitation and war, and will actively seek to reverse the takeover of ONDY conventions and councils by these Quislings.

 

3. Educational Exercises

Whereas we in ONDY believe that platitudes about "local control" are just an excuse to avoid questions about how any real large-scale challenge to the present political and economic system can be effectively mounted, and that talk of democracy, human dignity, responsibility, solidarity and collective love is meaningless unless it is accompanied by the political will to bring about fundamental change in society;

And whereas we in ONDY believe this vision of Canada can only happen if citizens begin practicising (or better yet, practising) more effective ways of mobilizing masses of Canadians around pressing issues of social justice, environmental protection, opposition to imperialist war and the militarization of society, and taking political power;

Therefore be it resolved that ONDY conventions and councils include educational exercises designed to motivate and inform the membership around the key political issues of the day, with a view to creating an activist movement that participates in the struggles of ordinary people around the aforementioned issues.

 

4. The Scourge of Social Democrats

Whereas the removal of the doctrine of Liberalism and Right-wing Opportunism from ONDY and its abuse of power and poor treatment of people would be a great stride toward the resurgence of the ONDY and the NDP as genuine leaders of movements for social change, as they once were, but have not been allowed to be for the past several decades;

Whereas ONDYites are eager to put an end to co-operation with the ruling elites and the sham of "social democracy" and to learn of how we cannot do this without radically changing our present society, soon:

Be it resolved that the ONDY convention refrain from passing meaningless resolutions in support of abstract concepts like "co-operation", completely decontextualized from the real issues and struggles of the working people of Canada, and instead reaffirm the principles of the Regina Manifesto that were articulated by the founders of the party and, sadly, ditched over the years by successive generations of opportunist party bureaucrats and politicians.

edmundoconnor

I don't like the way that socialism has been lumped in with those other ideologies, either. I think both sides have become more than a little hysterical. Only 'social democracy and co-operation'? Sweet heaven, are they nothing but a bunch of watered-down Liberals? I know plenty of socialists who see no contradiction between their beliefs and their membership of the ONDP. Even those who don't agree with the socialists all the time can see the value they bring to the party. I would think that more than a few CCFers from Douglas's time would be proud to call themselves socialists, albeit of the Christian variety. The resolution's drafters need to take a chill pill.

aka Mycroft

Interestingly, both Michael Prue and Cheri DiNovo sent open letters this week supporting TYND against the ONDY purge.

Quote:

Dear ONDY Executive,

As the MPP for Beaches-East York, I add my voice in support of the Toronto Youth New Democrats

The decision to de-charter TYND came as a great surprise. This club has done phenomenal work in the past year, what comes to mind is the great work and support they provided in the Cathy Crowe Campaign. They have succeeded in building vibrant working communities, throughout the city, implemented a successful summer camp, strive to help the needy, and lend a voice to the silent... I am in support of the TYND being re-chartered, to allow them to continue their great work.

Yours truly,
Michael Prue, MPP
Beaches-East York

Quote:

 

To Whom It May Concern

I am loathe to comment on ONDY activities as they are in every sense a separate organization but a letter has been brought to my attention that merits comment because it misrepresents the history of my party, the NDP, in shall I say, a Stalinist or McCarthyist manner (yes there are similarities).

We were founded as the CCF and the NDP on principles which have included socialism and one of our founders who was both a social gospel adherent and a Socialist, JS Woodsworth defined himself as such. So have Tommy Douglas, Jack Layton and Stephen Lewis among dozens of other in our history, using 'Democratic Socialism' as their descriptor.

The definition of what socialism is, whether socialism is our position, what kind of socialism etc.has also been part of our DNA as a party and ONDY has often been the appropriate place for such debates. That is simply democracy at work.

We are a big tent party with room for many different opinions and robust dialogue. This is also democracy at work.

To expel members or de-charter chapters of ONDY because we disagree with some opinions using as cover a skewed history of our party is not democratic. It is called 'red-baiting'. Put it to a vote under the rules of democracy we have always held dear.

We need unity yes, but never at the cost of democracy.

Wishing you all a wonderful and rich with debate, convention.

Rev. Dr. Cheri DiNovo
MPP Parkdale High Park

 

 

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Good for Di Novo.

But does she really sign her political letters "Rev. Dr."? Does she expect others who write letters to her to use that form of address?

Geoff OB

While I don't think it's a revelation to suggest there's not much about the NDP these days that we could call 'socialist', especially when we look at the record of recent NDP governments, I believe if we air-brush away any reference to socialism as a guiding principle that we aspire to, we will have lost any real reason to carry on as an independent political party. 

To use a different example to illustrate the same principle, New Democrats similarly understand that while we're a long way from eradicating poverty in Canada, we would never abandon our commitment to working toward that goal.    

I won't comment on the merits of the dispute, because I don't know enough of the facts.  I'm sure we'll learn more at Provincial Council.  Regardless, ONDY's resolution is not just wrong, it is a rejection of our collective history. (Can I still say 'collective'?)  Socialism must remain our ultimate goal for Canada, even if it is as far away as peace on earth, a clean environment, or a decent standard of living for everyone on the planet.  Go big or go home, I say.

Unionist

The worst thing about the ONDY resolution is not their opinions about "socialism" (whatever that means to different folks). It's their appetite for expelling people who don't agree with their particular ideas. If people only united with those who shared the same mental images, they wouldn't even unite with themselves for long. They should see whether they can support the same social causes; get mobilized in the same actions; cooperate on the same projects; and have their philosophical debates on the side. Those that condemn others for their "ideas" are not serious about changing the world.

 

AlanWaiKiatTang

Hello, I am currently an undergraduate at the University of Toronto-Scarborough as well as a member of CUPE 3902. I am also a member and supporter of the Toronto Young New Democrats, as well as a supporter of Fightback Magazine and thought to just update the comrades, brothers and sisters in this forum on the progress we've made at convention. Please note that this is a rough draft of the resolutions that have passed so far barring any personal errors or slip-ups on amendments, but overall these resolutions have passed in near original form.

Next on the Agenda:

Policy Resolutions - 1) G20 2) Justice Must Be Done

Elections for the 2010-2011 Ontario New Democratic Youth Executive

-We have confirmed the "Slate for Democratic and Activist ONDY" list, as we've managed to build a coalition of Socialists, Social Democrats, and Marxists who have agreed in principle with the T.Y.N.D. model of city-club organizing and activist orientation, while re-asserting the autonomous nature of the Ontario New Democratic Youth in allowing us to pursue policies we feel speak to working-class youth. On this basis we assert our intentions to build grassroot campaigns on ONDY specific policy within working-class neighbourhoods and build support for these policies through social movement activism, membership drives, as well as free and democratic discussion forums on how to strategize and orientate the party to these perspectives.

-Speaking as an individual, I feel that the fact we've been able to build a broad-left coalition in favour of genuine activism and democratic space for the wider left, shows the potential for synthesis of all ideological stripes on the political left in broad labour based party tents, and shows a potential alternative in the way we organize our party for the 21st Century. To this I speak of models like Quebec Solidaire, Die Linke or the Workers Party of Brazil - parties that have formalized ideological tendencies and weigh executives and policies based on a tendency's proportionality in membership. To this I strongly believe that the democratic process should reign supreme and will serve as the best innovator of ideas on how to fundamentally bring about socio-economic change that we fundamentally believe in - though we might disagree on the pace and extent of that change.

"The definition of what socialism is, whether socialism is our position, what kind of socialism etc. has also been part of our DNA as a party and ONDY has often been the appropriate place for such debates. That is simply democracy at work. We are a big tent party with room for many different opinions and robust dialogue." Rev. Cheri Dinovo, MPP Parkdale-High Park

Free Education

Because accessibility to higher education has reached critically low levels for the majority of youth both provincially and nationally

Because tuition fees are at levels which prevent large numbers of youth from attending post-secondary institutions, and those that do are saddled with crippling student debt averaging $30,000 per student

Because the membership of ONDY overwhelmingly approved the policy of free education, and prioritized it as the single most important policy for the whole of the provincial youth wing

Because we believe that access to education, like healthcare, is a right, not a privilege, and that we must put action behind what we believe in

We resolve that the ONDY reaffirm its policy of calling for universal quality education, the complete abolition of tuition fees, and proper government funding to institutions of higher learning

We further resolve that the ONDY launch an active campaign for free education to popularize the demand throughout the student movement, labour movement, and wider population.

 

NDP as a mass movement

Because the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) was founded as a diverse federation of different social movements, united by a democratic structure and striving for common goals

Because the CCF merging with the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) to form what became today's NDP was a step to continue, deepen and entrench the organic links between the Party and the working class, the youth movement, and the wider left

Because in order to win, the NDP must encompass, include, and unite all shades of opinion amongst the workers’ and youth movements, and the broader left

We resolve to make the Party the concrete representation of the collective will of the mass movement, where all shades of opinion (for example: union, environmentalist, socialist, anti-war, anti-oppression, etc.) are welcomed and encouraged.

We further resolve to actively seek to use the inclusive, open, and dynamic democratic structure of the Party to provide a space for dialogue, debate, and democratic decision-making for the working class and youth movements, in order to make the NDP more than just a political party, but rather a mass movement unto itself

 

G20

Because the G20 protests in Toronto in June represent an important event for the Party and the labour movement as a whole

Because it is vital that the NDP take a position of leadership in fighting against the G20’s agenda of austerity

We resolve that the ONDY steadfastly oppose the agenda of the G20, which seeks to pay for hundreds of billions of dollars of bail-outs to the wealthiest banks and corporations by attacking the living and working standards of workers and youth

We further resolve that the ONDY views the brutal police and government response to the protests as being both a blatant breach of democratic rights and civil liberties and, more importantly, the inevitable consequence and logical extension of the economic attacks on workers by the capitalist system.

We condemn the arrest of over 1,000, the largest mass arrests in Canadian history, and call for the release of all political prisoners and the dropping of all politically-motivated charges. We call for a labour-led enquiry into the events of the G20, the police, the role of the so-called Black Bloc, and agent-provocateurs and infiltrators in the demonstrations.

Oppose Police Brutality and Defend Youth Rights

Whereas police harassment is a regular occurrence in working class and immigrant communities across Ontario, and particularly in Toronto.

Whereas there have been several incidents of police killings of youth during the last few years, often in very suspicious circumstances.

Whereas misconduct on the part of police have been recognized and even admitted during the past in relation to incidences of police killings and brutality.

Whereas it is evident that police engage in the profiling of youth, workers, and immigrants. Evidence has even come out in the corporate press establishing this fact.

Whereas many of our members in the NDP youth, particularly in the working class districts of Toronto, have experienced police brutality and have even been targeted and arrested as a result of their community activism.

Whereas the issue of police brutality resonates with the experiences of many working class youth and immigrants, and has even sparked significant demonstrations and activism in the past years.

Whereas activists of the NDP, particularly those active in the TYND, have been able to mobilize considerable community support and even recruit party members on the basis of anti-police brutality activism.

Be it Resolved that ONDY take a clear stance in opposition to police brutality, harassment, and profiling.

Be it Resolved that ONDY take a public stance, and become actively engaged, in the struggle against police brutality, in defence of civil rights and the safety of working class people [possible amendment to: "all people", but cannot confirm at the top of my head if this passed].

Be it Resolved that ONDY firmly push the representatives and the leaders of our party to take strong, public and clearly-worded positions on the issue, particularly when such incidences occur.

Be it further resolved that ONDY also engage in campaigns to support party members who, through their civil rights and anti-police brutality activism, become targeted and arrested. This should include active mobilizing, awareness raising, public support, and [amendment: organizing] financial legal support to our party members and other activists.

 

City-wide clubs

Whereas the ONDY clubs have hitherto overwhelmingly been campus clubs,

Whereas the ONDY is an organization that should mobilize youth, including those who do not go to university, to fight for socialist goals,

Whereas the world crisis of the capitalist system means a wider interest of young people and workers in politics and the ideas of Socialism,

Whereas the Toronto Young New Democrats (TYND) has proved a fantastically successful model involving dozens of youth from all over the city and from communities that were never approached by ONDY before,

Whereas TYND has organized regular members meetings and numerous picket visits, leafleting and canvassing actions and a successful socialist summer camp,

Be it resolved that ONDY makes it a priority to organize city-wide clubs that include all working-class youth and those willing to fight for [amendment: progressive (socialist, social democratic etc.)] ideas,

Be it further resolved that these clubs be activist bodies that regularly meet and conduct their activities based on member-driven democratic principles, as this is the best way to mobilize youth and build the party from the grassroots level.

**I'd also like to note that a resolution calling for ONDY to put forth support for Universal Dental Care (not just for those under 18) has passed unanimously.

 

In Solidarity,

Alan Wai Kiat Tang

Toronto Young New Democrats,

Former ONDY Riding Youth Coordinator (2008-2009)

Toronto-Danforth New Democratic Party

"Freedom without socialism is privilege and injustice, &
socialism without freedom is slavery & brutality"

aka Mycroft

Were there any resolutions concerning the de-chartering of TYND? Has that been undone?

AlanWaiKiatTang

The Slate if it wins a majority has promised to immediately reverse the de-chartering process. Though it's too early to judge the results of the floor, from my estimation the slate enjoys 2/3s support of the convention. It is also important to note that this is the largest ONDY convention in my memory as a New Democrat, which is something we can all at least celebrate as youth ask tough questions and intellectually take ownership of their ideas and future aspirations as workers in tomorrow's workfroce.

 

aka Mycroft

It'll be interesting to see how the NDP reacts if ONDY is subject to what the leadership will view as a "takeover" by Trotskyists and "fellow travellers" (cue sinister music). I suppose it will depend on if there's a fear that the media or Liberal Party or both will use this to sling mud at the NDP during the provincial election. Of course, the Socialist Caucus has been tolerated by the NDP for years despite occasional articles in the National Post about the NDP "sponsoring" trips to Cuba (not that that's really a big deal in Canada when even Stephen Harper has vacationed on the forbidden isle).

What are the chances of provincial office/provincial executive moving against ONDY and/or the TYND and Fightback in order to prevent them from "embarassing" the party? (I believe the last time the ONDP cracked down on the youth wing was in the late 1980s when another Trotskyist group was seen as having too muich influence).

KenS

Sometimes entryists have to be expelled from an organization for what they DO to the internal process, not for what they stand for.

But entryists have been part of the ONDP since the 70s. [And nationaly in the NDP, albeit spread even more thinly, via the Socialist Caucus.]

So the mere fact a chapter is predominately entryists does not in itself mean they engage in the kind of entryist behaviour that in my opinion any organization has a legitimate right and need to rid itself of.

KenS

I'm on record saying that I think that there can be reasons for expelling groups of people. And that in principle, de-shartering a chapter is extreme but not essentially different. And it is not just a matter of just "disagreeing with people".

But that for me is a process question, and what I would need to know to make a judgement about this particular case is WAY beyond what I could possibly learn at such a distance.

I also am glad whatever the outcome to see people are taking this seriously.

With the caveat that one way or the other the particular question over the satanding of the club has to end.

One thing I have not got straight, and I'm not sure I have ever seen even oblique references to the question.

I know its difficult, at best, to get an honset appraisal of this. But how much of the objection to the TONDY chapter is to real or imagined fears that they will hijack the process of the whole ONDY with insistence on endless 'discussion' [of everything]; and how much is NDP 'reputation fears'? Reputation fears being that the ONDP will have to wear the public stands that the chapter takes?

Maybe I shouldnt even ask that. Because the first answers out of the gate- and too often the only answers- are just too self serving.

Unionist

KenS wrote:

I'm on record saying that I think that there can be reasons for expelling groups of people.

Given that membership in the NDP and its youth organizations is individual (isn't it??), that's one of the more frightening statements I've heard around here.

 

aka Mycroft

AFAIK no individual's party membership has actually been denied or revoked as of yet. Doing so used to be more common, I remember looking through my university library's stacks and finding the Young Socialists' magazine from the late 1960s which published a letter from Stephen Langdon (who was then on either the NDP or NDY executive) to Harry Kopyto and others informing them that their NDP membership had been revoked because their names appeared on the masthead of the magazine (the Young Socialists being the youth wing of the League for Socialist Action, Canada's main Trotskyist group at the time). In the late 1980s, of course, the Labour Party expelled the editorial board of Militant from party membership. I don't think the NDP has actually expelled indivdual Trotskyists explicitly for being Trotskyists since the 1970s. A few members of the Revolutionary Workers League were expelled in the 1980s but that was because the RWL ran a few candidates in the 1984 or 1988 federal election in ridings where NDP candidates were also running (while the RWL was nominally entrist they'd pretty much given that up in the 1980s and were actually leaving the NDP). Similarly, Barry Weisleder and Elizabeth Byce of Socialist Action were expelled from the NDP in the mid-1990s because they had worked for "independent labour" candidates (Joe Flexer and Amani Oakley) running against NDP incumbents in the 1995 provincial election.That is, the only "entrists" expelled from the NDP in the past 25 years ago have been individuals who were actually in the process of abandoning entrism (at least temporarily in the case of Weisleder).

So I suspect the Fightback crew are pretty safe since they are completely wedded to the NDP and there's no chance of them running or supporting non-NDP candidates in a provincial or federal election. (The IMT is so wedded to entrism that they're one of the few Trotskyist groups who stuck to the British Labour Party like glue during the Blairite era). That doesn't preclude the NDP taking steps to "reorganize" ONDY should the party view the youth group as a liability because it's been "taken over".

KenS

KenS wrote:

I'm on record saying that I think that there can be reasons for expelling groups of people.

 

Unionist wrote:

Given that membership in the NDP and its youth organizations is individual (isn't it??), that's one of the more frightening statements I've heard around here.

Talk about quoting me out of context. Here is what I said:

KenS wrote:

I'm on record saying that I think that there can be reasons for expelling groups of people. And that in principle, de-shartering a chapter is extreme but not essentially different. And it is not just a matter of just "disagreeing with people".

But that for me is a process question...

Where I go on to ask if there are any reasonable grounds to see or fear for entryist disruption.

KenS wrote:

Sometimes entryists have to be expelled from an organization for what they DO to the internal process, not for what they stand for.

But entryists have been part of the ONDP since the 70s.

So the mere fact a chapter is predominately entryists does not in itself mean they engage in the kind of entryist behaviour that in my opinion any organization has a legitimate right and need to rid itself of.

KenS

I can see that the 'technicalities' involved might be one reason even people in the party who dont want Fighback and friends around will not want to go to the wall over it.

So you take away the Toronto ONDY charter. Then what? Like what happens when a new group is organized? I dont think there is anything to stop people from coming back and being the dominant force in whatever new club(s) is/are formed.

To stop that I think you would have to declare that you cannot remain a member of the NDP if you are a member of Fightback. And there have to be reasons given for that- the kind of criteria in examples used by Mycroft. There could be other criteria, but not just made up stuff or potential 'threats'.

Stockholm

Why don't these "entryists" do us all a favour and give up on the NDP and instead try to stage a hostile takeover of the Green party. It has such a small membership and is so disorganized that a small band of Trotskyists could stack an AGM in no-time and even change the party name from Green to Trotskyist within five minutes.

KenS

I'm not saying that they are trying to 'take over' or stack the ONDY, even 'as much as possible'. In fact, if past history is an indication, highly unlikely this is even a pipe dream.

But to the degree that there is a goal of influence within organizations- they are looking for those rooted in the working class.

Which leaves the NDP or the NDP. [And unions of course, which is more difficult.]

aka Mycroft

In what must be a humiliating blow to the party establishment, the entire TYND run "Slate for a Democratic and Activist ONDY" was elected to the ONDY executive today. Their first act was to recharter the TYND club.

 

George Victor

aka Mycroft wrote:

In what must be a humiliating blow to the party establishment, the entire TYND run "Slate for a Democratic and Activist ONDY" was elected to the ONDY executive today. Their first act was to recharter the TYND club.

 

 

Gosh, it might even turn out to be a blow to social democracy and its chances of gaining public confidence about the NDPs ability to grow jobs. But I'm sure the evaluators of chicken entrails have thought out all of that non-revolutionary stuff.

 

Malcolm Malcolm's picture

M. Spector wrote:

Good for Di Novo.

But does she really sign her political letters "Rev. Dr."? Does she expect others who write letters to her to use that form of address?

 

 

Why wouldn't she sign her correspondence that way?

She's ordained.  She has a doctorate.

The correct form of address when corresponding back would be:

"Rev. Dr. Cheri do Novo . . .

Dear Dr. di Novo:"

Malcolm Malcolm's picture

Unionist wrote:

KenS wrote:

I'm on record saying that I think that there can be reasons for expelling groups of people.

Given that membership in the NDP and its youth organizations is individual (isn't it??), that's one of the more frightening statements I've heard around here.

If multiple people have taken actions that justify expulsion at any one time, it is usually because of something they have done acting as a group.

The only time I've had any connection to party expulsions was when members of the so-called Revolutionary Workers League were appealing their expulsion to the ONDP Council on the argument that the RWL was not a political party an meant by the constitution.  Their evidence for this assertion was that the RWL did not run candidates in elections.  I referred to a specific case of the RWL running an official RWL candidate in a specific Saskatchewan election, and their case collapsed.

Personally, I think the ONDP made a horrible mistake in not expelling that Liberal flack Basil Hargrove a decade earlier - and the lot of his "strategic voting" fellow travellers with him.

aka Mycroft

Odd that ONDY and the Women's Committee had their conferences on the same day. Doesn't the NDP co-ordinate these things? It makes it appear that either ONDY is not particularly concerned about participation by women or that the Women's Committee is not especially concerned about youth participation.

 

aka Mycroft

Here is Fightback's take on this weekend's ONDY convention:

2010 Ontario New Democratic Youth Convention: Historic win for the Left

Here's the part of the article on the actual election:

Quote:
Day three

When delegates arrived on the morning of the third day, they were surprised to see a new registration table set up, with laptops manned by a handful of young Party staffers and a large printed out sign that quoted part of the ONDP constitution that pertained to who qualifies as a member in good standing, and is thus eligible to be a delegate to convention. The large sign now affixed to the table at the front of the hall read:

(2) Subject to this Article and to Article 11.03(3), an applicant for individual membership becomes an individual member of the Party

(b) upon the expiration of the 30th day after the application for individual membership and the appropriate membership fee are received by the Secretary of the Party, unless the applicant is given notice in writing by the Secretary of the Party that the application has been referred to the Provincial Executive.

The delegates arriving were informed that although they had received delegate credentials two days earlier and had been voting on policies all throughout the previous day, in order to vote in the elections they would have to have their membership confirmed in the Party database and would not be granted ballots unless they had joined the Party over a month ago.

This was totally in violation to the precedence set at every single previous ONDY convention, where young new members to the Party were allowed to sign membership cards and be granted full delegate rights at the door. This was traditionally one of the best recruiting tools for the youth wing. Moreover, this past-procedure was totally legal, because the organizers had conveniently "forgotten" to include the full portion of the constitution on their sign. Had they not tried to deceive the membership, the article would have been printed, in full, like this:

(2) Subject to this Article and to Article 11.03(3), an applicant for individual membership becomes an individual member of the Party

(a) upon acceptance of the application by the Secretary of the Party, or designate, or

(b) upon the expiration of the 30th day after the application for individual membership and the appropriate membership fee are received by the Secretary of the Party, unless the applicant is given notice in writing by the Secretary of the Party that the application has been referred to the Provincial Executive.

Section (a) of the very same clause, the part the organizers left out of their print-out, clearly states that a representative of the Party secretary can approve memberships on the spot and make delegates members in good standing of the party, thus qualifying them to vote. These people, who are supposed to be servants of the membership, were in fact attempting to misrepresent the ONDP constitution and disenfranchise young New Democrats from their rights, in order to rig an election. They could have easily approved memberships; instead they turned new activists away. What kind of people are these that go out of their way to shrink the youth membership and sabotage a democratic convention? On the one side, the left wants an open active party that welcomes new people in. On the other side, there is exclusion and a closed door to those who want to build the party. Many were disgusted by this and voted accordingly.

This undemocratic state of affairs was upheld by the chair of the meeting, who was immediately challenged from the floor and overturned. A motion was then moved to give all delegates the right to vote. Under sane circumstances, this would be totally redundant, especially because nearly all the supporters of the left slate had gone to the ONDP office in Toronto and personally had their membership signed and received. Clearly the "moderators" of this process were not interested in the rules. A debate ensued in which a host of points were raised including the notoriously inaccurate nature of the database, the attempt to deceive the members as to the actual wording of the constitution, the turning away of new youth who wanted a membership (not even voting rights, but simply a membership!), and the fact that the right-wing were clearly trying to keep people out of the Party, rather then bringing them in, in order to influence the outcome of an election. The ONDY Convention is the highest democratic body of the youth section and it voted to allow delegates their right to vote.

The threat exists that the right-wing will not accept their overwhelming defeat and will attempt to use their scandalous denial of memberships to try and overturn the election results (and effectively cripple the youth wing)! Hopefully they will see sense, not damage the Party, and allow the youth section to get on with building new clubs and mobilizing youth for victory in the 2011 provincial election. Despite the attempt to trick, deceive, and threaten the membership by those responsible for a decade of inaction, the democratic will of engaged and committed youth could not be stopped.

I suspect the party executive and/or provincial council will move to overturn the results at its next meeting and that there will be pressure beforehand for Prue and DiNovo to fall in or at least sit on their hands.

siamdave

"This was totally in violation to the precedence set at every single previous ONDY convention, where young new members to the Party were allowed to sign membership cards and be granted full delegate rights at the door."

In other words, we'll just throw the whole thng open to anyone who has the money to round up busloads of whoever, and pay them a few bucks to go and vote for them. Blatant corruption is sanctified! (think of a guy named Mulroney for one of the more obvious recent examples of where this sort of thing can lead to - but there are other examples from both Bay St parties, and no doubt others...)

This does not give me much confidence in the "alternative" party .....

 

KenS

aka Mycroft wrote:

I suspect the party executive and/or provincial council will move to overturn the results at its next meeting

That has been made pretty easy.

We'll never know if the slate could have won anyway, even with the narrow application of the Constitution applied by the Chair.

Because not having seen if the slate could have won anyway, the supporters of the de-chartered Toronto club have handed their opponents legitimacy.

Presumably they are correct that in saying there is a past practice of allowing the discretionary possibility to take 'instant memberships' at youth meetings.

But whoever is behind it- whatever the poltical leanings involved- there has always been wariness in the NDP about "instant memberships" for internal voting. Ujjal Dosanjh's leadership campaign being the case of this most people would have heard about.

That wariness could be set aside for the special case of youth meetings. But it is absolutely predicatble it would be back in full force at evidence of aggresive use of the entryist practice of meeting packing.

aka Mycroft wrote:

and that there will be pressure beforehand for Prue and DiNovo to fall in or at least sit on their hands.

It may not take any pressure. I know that strong whiff of meeting packing in Fightback's own account made me re-think. If it was news to Prue and DiNovo, it will influence them.

KenS

siamdave wrote:

Quoting the Fightback account: "This was totally in violation to the precedence set at every single previous ONDY convention, where young new members to the Party were allowed to sign membership cards and be granted full delegate rights at the door."

In other words, we'll just throw the whole thng open to anyone who has the money to round up busloads of whoever, and pay them a few bucks to go and vote for them. Blatant corruption is sanctified! (think of a guy named Mulroney for one of the more obvious recent examples of where this sort of thing can lead to - but there are other examples from both Bay St parties, and no doubt others...) 

That isnt what it is about. The norm is that you need to have an established membership to exercise your rights as a member. IF anything, IMO that period of time is too long. But virtually no one would argue that the doors should be just thrown open.

What is being said is that at ONDY Conventions, there is an established precedent that 'instant memberships' are allowed. I cannot speak to whether this is true, but the means exist in the ONDP constitution... and the idea makes sense of allowing the exception. The background assumption- obviously flawed- being that no one would try to pack an ONDY meeting the ay you can bet it will be occassionaly tried if the practice of instant members was tolerated and facilitated at nomination meetings or in leadership races.

aka Mycroft

Incidentally, Sunday was the 93rd anniversary of the Russian Revolution. It's a shame Ted Grant is dead because I'm sure he'd proclaim that the "Canadian Revolution has now begun!"

On a more serious note, any action against ONDY will be heavy handed and bureaucratic. If they overturn the vote and call a new one the "instant members" will be qualified to vote since they would have been party members for more than 30 days by then. Basically, the party dug itself in a hole this one by reacting in a red-baiting and ideological manner and ended up getting what they feared the most. I doubt very much that Fightback or the TYND bribed anyone to join the party as is suggested above. Rather these are youths who were disgusted by the decertification of TYND, an act that occured in a secretive manner without full disclosure, and decided to get involvled.

If there is a case against the TYND then the ONDY executive and or the party leadership should have laid out the facts coldly and clinicly without ideological hyperbole. Instead they went for full force Cold War hysteria and it blew up in their faces.

KenS

Too late for this case. But while it may have had good intentions and been seen as harmless, I would say that discretionary power the Secreatry has should be removed from the Constitution.

The sentiment in the NDP against instant memberships is probably too strong for a leadership to think they can get away with this, but the constitutional means exists for them to turn a blind eye to blatant meeting packing at a contentious riding nomination.

aka Mycroft

Anyway, on the legalistic issue, I suppose this will turn on the party's ability to argue that whoever accepted the newbie ONDY memberships was not a true "designate" of the party secretary or that the memberships were not actually accepted but were merely pending.

aka Mycroft

Anyway, on the legalistic issue, I suppose this will turn on the party's ability to argue that whoever accepted the newbie ONDY memberships was not a true "designate" of the party secretary or that the memberships were not actually accepted but were merely pending.

KenS

In practice, that wont be much of an issue.

The dynamic of a new vote is an interesting one. Because now the burden will be to get those new members to attend again. We shall see. If enough of them do not show up again, qualms that NDP members have- exemplified by the letters from Prue and DiNovo- will be effectively moot.

Geoff OB

Given the way the Convention Chair ignored the procedural rules during last summer's federal convention in Halifax in order to prevent a debate on the name change issue, it seems disingenuous of the party to protest about procedures not being properly followed this time around.  The selective application of rules and procedures by the party poobahs is hypocritical, to say the least.    

Polunatic2

I love historic wins.

wage zombie

I think the fact that whoever set the table up left out the "(a) clause" of the Constitution tarnishes any real arguments about meeting packing.  After reading the blurb that AKA Mycroft posted I see things more from TYND's side (which I didn't before).

aka Mycroft

The really inept thing is the fact that people who were duly registered as delegates and who voted for resolution on Friday and Saturday were to be excluded on Sunday. If it was the party's position that certain people were not delegates then why wait until Sunday before challenging their credentials? The horses were already out of the barn by that point.

Rather than trying to rely on bureaucratic sleight of hand the party leadership should have been able to mobilise at least 100 people of ONDY's 6,000 membership to actually go to the meeting. That ONDY is so weak that 50 people can go to its convention and "take over" says a lot about the state of the party and its inability to appeal to youth. Liberal Youth conventions typically have 1,000 or more attendees as do Ontario PC Youth but 50 attendees at a NON-DELEGATED convention is considered one of the largest ONDY conventions in living memory? Come on. If the party actually was able to organize *its own members* they wouldn't have to worry about things like this or rely on bureaucratic manouvres to try to stop "take overs".

aka Mycroft

The really inept thing is the fact that people who were duly registered as delegates and who voted for resolution on Friday and Saturday were to be excluded on Sunday. If it was the party's position that certain people were not delegates then why wait until Sunday before challenging their credentials? The horses were already out of the barn by that point.

Rather than trying to rely on bureaucratic sleight of hand the party leadership should have been able to mobilise at least 100 people of ONDY's 6,000 membership to actually go to the meeting. That ONDY is so weak that 50 people can go to its convention and "take over" says a lot about the state of the party and its inability to appeal to youth. Liberal Youth conventions typically have 1,000 or more attendees as do Ontario PC Youth but 50 attendees at a NON-DELEGATED convention is considered one of the largest ONDY conventions in living memory? Come on. If the party actually was able to organize *its own members* they wouldn't have to worry about things like this or rely on bureaucratic manouvres to try to stop "take overs".

Aristotleded24

aka Mycroft wrote:
The really inept thing is the fact that people who were duly registered as delegates and who voted for resolution on Friday and Saturday were to be excluded on Sunday. If it was the party's position that certain people were not delegates then why wait until Sunday before challenging their credentials? The horses were already out of the barn by that point.

Rather than trying to rely on bureaucratic sleight of hand the party leadership should have been able to mobilise at least 100 people of ONDY's 6,000 membership to actually go to the meeting. That ONDY is so weak that 50 people can go to its convention and "take over" says a lot about the state of the party and its inability to appeal to youth. Liberal Youth conventions typically have 1,000 or more attendees as do Ontario PC Youth but 50 attendees at a NON-DELEGATED convention is considered one of the largest ONDY conventions in living memory? Come on. If the party actually was able to organize *its own members* they wouldn't have to worry about things like this or rely on bureaucratic manouvres to try to stop "take overs".

Exactly. It says something that the ONDY wants to crush a group within the party that is doing the organizing and recruiting around issues the ONDY should have been doing in the first place.

Pogo

The YND is really a place for practicing politics and for those keen about youth specific issues.  Most youth migrate to the main party long before they reach the age limit.

Clearly having a regional convention (and Ontario is a big place) without allocating delegates is just asking for problems.  I wonder how the resource policy discussion went.

Unionist

Malcolm wrote:

Personally, I think the ONDP made a horrible mistake in not expelling that Liberal flack Basil Hargrove a decade earlier - and the lot of his "strategic voting" fellow travellers with him.

See Malcolm, that would include all the thousand or so delegates at the December 2005 CAW Council that approved strategic voting. Should they have been expelled individually, or as a group?

And how about that Liberal flack Jack Layton - signing that coalition deal that would have made Stéphane Dion prime minister? I thought Jack Layton was supposed to be running for prime minister?

Fellow travellers. They're everywhere. I guess that's why they call them travellers.

KenS

If it really only takes 50 people to pack an ONDY provincial meeeting- which would mean you only need to get 50 people to 'counter-pack' it- then, yes, thats pretty pathetic. 

More Keystone Cops than Machievelli.

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