Think Forward BC NDP Draft #7

Think Forward BC NDP
September 15, 2009

Today, the BC NDP has an opportunity to be more assertive in building a more effective, functional and relevant party for our members and our communities. We must ensure that representation at all levels of the party, including MLAs and candidates, reflects the full diversity of the province we live in. We must also transform our desire for internal party improvement into a strategy for meaningful change for the people of BC, starting now. This process must be democratic, transparent and as open sourced as possible both for the party members and the public at large, and it should be an ongoing feature of a robust, dynamic, innovative and resilient political movement.

Past drafts and now Draft #7 have been sent out to the NDP widely. After more feedback from around the province and further editing before the deadline of Sept 25th, a final version will be submitted in a Resolution to Convention recommending delegates accept it as a vision for our way forward and a guide to action and new policy.

1. We must build a social movement within the party:

– The NDP represents the needs, interests, aspirations and values of most British Columbians. The party needs to be the vehicle that pursues gender, age, race, class, social, economic, environmental, and political justice, not just at the next election, but every day.

– The Goal: we must develop our members’ strengths and capacities to make a difference in our communities and show all citizens that the NDP is the party to promote people’s interests.

2. We must enhance democracy inside the party:

– Progressive politics is about accountability and transparency throughout the party to build trust and commitment between members and the elements of the party: constituencies (executives, MLAs, candidates, members, non-members), the provincial party (convention, party policies defined by convention, provincial council, the provincial executive, the table officers, staff), and caucus (leader, MLAs, staff).

– The Goal: more regular communication as well as formal and informal relationships need to take place from caucus and the executive to provincial councils, constituencies and members to increase transparency and accountability. There must be a clear process laid out and followed for decision-making which takes into account, but does not get hamstrung by communications management.

3. We must follow and implement party values:

– All elements of the party need to be grounded in party policies developed by convention. Lower voter turnout and our struggle with volunteer recruitment and retention reflect both our actions drifting away from our beliefs and the lack of innovation for new members to get excited about.

– The Goal: all constituency, caucus and provincial office activities must reflect and advance party beliefs and goals endorsed by convention, which must be available to party members.

4. We must empower members and non-members:

– We must build and fund an organization in the party (a) to educate current and new members and non-members about who we are and what we believe, (b) to consult members more and increase their role in decision-making, and (c) to develop their capacity to be more involved in pursuing social, economic, environmental and political justice in the community, province and country. Treating members like donors who merely allow “professionals” to do the work of democracy is bad for democracy.

– The Goal: we must strengthen the role of constituencies to create a political movement that people want to belong to because it respects, values and includes them. We must trust the membership to guide the party and to provide leadership, while allowing paid and unpaid organizers to professionally implement on the ground and communications strategies.

5. We must improve our relationship with the environment:

–  The NDP needs to be a leader in climate change, food sovereignty, clean energy, etc. – both in terms of policy and education.

– The Goal: we must develop strong, cooperative working relationships with strong environmental organizations that are already pursuing policy change and mobilizing our communities. We must be leaders in sustainable environmental policy.

6. We must improve our relationship with labour and other progressive groups:

–  The NDP has a long tradition of pursuing progressive goals with union members and working people. Confronting oppression, discrimination, economic turmoil, energy crises and climate change requires unions, workers and the party to actively cooperate with other progressive organizations.

– The Goal: we must improve the party’s relationship with labour and working people, and expand our cooperation with other progressive organizations.

7. We must build a constructive relationship with progressive businesses:

– The economy should exist to enhance the lives of people. Progressive businesses and cooperatives that have responsible social and environmental values have a distinct role in reshaping a progressive economy during our current economic crisis and into the future.

– The Goal: we must identify and collaborate with progressive businesses to ensure people earn living wages, our community is enriched, and we develop an environmentally and socially sustainable economy.

Thank you for your commitment to progressive change,
Stephen Elliott-Buckley
Vancouver-Kensington Constituency Executive


12 responses to “Think Forward BC NDP Draft #7

  1. Pingback: Think Forward BC NDP Invitation [September 19, 2009] « Think Forward BC NDP

  2. One gets the impression, that it would be easier to start a new party than deal with the dessention and bitterness within the old. All British Columbians voted in the last election. Some cast ballots for a party they felt could provide a good government, some for the lesser of evils, and some stayed home, uninspired by any of the choices. While I applaud the intent of Think Forward BC NDP, I am tired of intellectual rhetoric. What is needed is Act Now BC NDP. We lost. We’re broke. People are hurting, confused and frustrated. We need the consolation of social activity .. pot luck dinners, fund raisers and support of local causes. BC voters do not need us to tell them how badly they are being treated; they need an example of good governance. A party that cannot suffer adversity without tearing itself apart, that cannot treat its own constituencies as equal participants, that cannot function in a fiscally responsible manner … will not instil voter confidence. Like it or not, most people who join the NDP are doers, not philosophers. While others think about problems we would rather lend a hand and get things done. Please don’t talk about openess and transparency in decision making without at least equal emphasis on leadership and problem solving. Demonstrate how being a member helps my community and my community will support you; focus on educating members on who we are and what we believe in, and all you’ll get is informed criticsm of your training techniques and material.

  3. I wholeheartedly agree with Paul. I want to see leadership not retoric. I want to see transparency and inclusiveness not secret meetings and critisism of groups and people who are trying to bring the voice of the grass roots to the fore. I want leadership that will begin to listen to their membership not circle the wagons and try to stop criticism by shunning and forcing out those that disagree with them! In democracy all are supposed to have a voice.
    We need change not this retoric. NDP members know what we stand for – the question is does the leadership know?

  4. I like the concept of “Think Forward BC NDP”, it could also easily be called “Think Back BC NDP”.

    Most, if not all, are concepts that were introduced long, long ago. If anything, we appear to have abandoned many of our moral principles, we just now have to reiterate and re-commit to them.

    One principal not mentioned is Crown or Public companies/assets and services. We need to identify and define what should remain Public and also identify and define how it will represent public interests and also how it will work in relation to private companies.

    Simply trying to beat up on the Liberals has not accomplished anything for our cause.

  5. Michael Goodman,

    I recently decided to become more active after being an off again on again member and activist for nearly 40 years. I have made donations the whole way through. What do I find at the first meeting I go to? That a resolution submitted by Kensington which would allow the full membership to decide if they want a leadership review has been manipulated and distorted to the point it has no meaning. It has supposedly been amalgamated with four other similar motions. Surprise surprise, given the flip flop on the environment just before the last election. It is time for those of us who want a more democratic party that truly represents the aspirations of the current and future membership get organized. Without real democracy and transparency new people will never feel like they own the movement we must create to win and rule, and current members will come and go. No one can get truly excited about what we can create. Those of us that think what the NDP has become is baloney are clearly out there. I hear about various efforts The Ginger Group, Take Back the NDP. Those that are of similar sentiments can contact me at I will be voting for Stephen and his bid for executive at the convention. I would like to find others that are running for the executive who are of similar minds.

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  11. I am struck by the absence of politics, policies and programme in this document. Are we in a class struggle with the corporate and imperial forces in this world? Or can we go about our business, pursuing identity politics, enviromental stewardship and social justice, without due concern for the forces of reaction?
    Is the NDP going to be fairer managers for the corporate state or a force to move us towards justice and democracy?

  12. Pingback: The Future of the BC NDP | Politics, Re-Spun

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