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NDP has nothing to fear from an election: let us go to the polls

Unlike the other two major federal parties the NDP (and Greens for that matter) have nothing to fear from an election. Indeed if the NDP understood that building its party was the key to future electoral gains it would welcome more frequent elections. Why? Because elections force parties to identify, organize, and mobilize their core constituencies; elections force MPs onto the streets in their ridings; and it forces them to solicit and involve local citizens in the political process. Elections are about making the political process active rather than a passive spectator sport.

What I am suggesting is that the NDP needs to view elections as a long term mobilizing strategy that is part of a larger strategy of transforming democracy into a much more participatory process. The long, slow transformation of the NDP from a mass party into a highly centralized cadre party has proven to be a dead end. If the NDP were to view elections as nothing more than an intensification of an ongoing party building strategy it would go a long way to curbing the tendency to be narrowly focussed on short term considerations such as opinion polls and political opportunism. Indeed a focus on short term considerations leads to an incoherent whole which is likely shot through with hypocrisy which undermines the longer term goals of expanding party membership, increasing party identification and loyalty and articulating a coherent alternative vision on behalf of the electorate.

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