LETTER: Conversation about socialism has been lost

From reader Charles Jeanes

It’s 2019, and Canada has produced an electoral manifesto that finally matches in brilliance and relevance the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation’s Regina Manifesto of 1933. The document I refer to is the Green Party’s platform for our federal election.

The Greens make me proud to be Canadian, but I’m depressed that such wonderful ideas have never found traction with our electorates. The NDP absorbed the CCF in 1961, and today the NDP eschews all mention of socialism. The Green Party alone speaks about the social contract and the Just Society in 2019.

Whatever happened to the conversation about social class and ending capitalist exploitation, a conversation of tremendous vitality in 1933, but one that is forgotten now while race, gender, and climate issues are all top-of-mind? The last time socialism seemed respectable was the 1970s.

I do not mean to belittle other people’s issues. Race, gender, and climate must have enormous weight in our politics. But beneath all of the injustices those issues involve is the oldest one of all, the wrongness of a society stratified by class. The shape of Canada is a pyramid; the top is wealthy beyond any moral justification, and the bottom impoverished in the same manner. The whole world has the same shape. When I hear the articulate voices of people impassioned about race, gender, or climate, I so wish to hear the same passion for an end to capitalist “liberal democracy.” Where did we lose the plot?

I conclude with a quote from Catherine Ingram in the Huffington Post: “The problem is that the human creature will postpone challenging that system as long as the goods keep flowing, no matter the future costs. Capitalism is a perfect representation of the human need and greed for more, future be damned.”

Charles Jeanes


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