I’ve just unsubscribed from the NDP mailing list.
Explaining why, I said that it had become an unending stream of requests for money, with no engagement or consultation, while meanwhile the party can be hijacked at a convention.
This needs to be fixed. There needs to be a way to enable to have the party represent its membership. It’s almost 2020; there are ways to do this. And they would be a lot more effective and democratic than an in-person convention.
What would make this work?
There are various ways to design online forums, and we could try some different models, with the caveat that participants must be registered party members. That does not (necessarily) mean that every comment must be signed, but it does mean that we can conduct our conversations without the input of botnets and trolls from outside.
Within such a structure, we should be searching for the consensus that unites us. I think sometimes that political parties lose sight of what matters in the pursuit for power. That does not (necessarily) mean a statement of principles or any such thing – too much is lost in the search for exact wording.
We should also be seeking consensus on the issues of the day. Surely we can do better than a ‘pipeline versus no-pipeline’ debate. It was a significant failure that we could not have found common ground on an issue like this, one that recognizes the legitimate needs and aspirations of the people of Alberta, while also recognizing the need for safety, indigenous rights, and the environment.
The failure – in my mind – wasn’t simply the lack of a vision here, it was that we didn’t even try. There was no national dialogue on this, no attempt to draw upon the collective intelligence of the party as a whole. Rather, it was simply a retreat into media statements and political posturing.
We can do better. The party needs to use its online media to get members to talk to each other, to engage, to come up with ideas, and more solutions forward, rather than simply ask people for money.
The convention system of party governance should be abolished, the delegate system ended, and mechanisms put into place for the membership to reach agreement, point by point, on a comprehensive platform and strategy.
The majority of people in Canada are progressive-left. Yet we are constantly governed by parties from the right, because they have addressed the issues of engagement and identification with an idea in a way that we have not. The only way to change this is to bring people in, and make them part of the solution.