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,
Vancouver-Kensington Constituency Executive