The NDP is having a really hard time these days. They don't seem to know who they are -- and Canadians don't know who they are either. Rick Salutin writes that perhaps its time for the party to return to its roots -- not because returning to the past is a good idea, but because socialism is making a comeback:
Maybe it’s time to go back to Coke Classic, by which I mean socialism. I don’t say this out of nostalgia, it’s sheer opportunism based on empirical evidence. Because, consider the recent, shocking revival of the term:Bernie. He says he’s a democratic socialist and always was. It should’ve sunk him when he ran for mayor in Vermont in 1981, but he went on to Congress, the Senate, then hijacked this year’s Democratic presidential race and exacted a partly “socialist” platform in return for supporting Hillary.Corbyn. Very old-fashioned leftist, without Bernie’s personal appeal. (God, I miss him.) Corbyn’s a postwar Atlee or Nye Bevan British socialist. But he’s moved his party and many beyond it. Even for a clear relic, “socialism” has been a plus.Hillary. Hold the guffaws. Her sole contribution to political jargon has been, “It takes a village.” It’s not her coinage but she adopted it. That sounds to me like another way to say socialism.
But the really persuasive evidence can be found in the young:
The young today know the economy may never let them own a detached home, or even a car, and they’re making peace with that. When you turn 16 now, you don’t immediately run to get your learner’s permit. That’s a sea change from earlier times.What do they care passionately about? Connectivity. If they had to choose between a house (and car) or the Internet, there’d be no hesitation. I’m not restating the messianic claims made 25 years ago about some revolutionary transformation of human nature due to the Internet. But I do think there’s been an anthropological shift in the baseline of what counts as normal, day-to-day human experience.Till now – since forever – one of the ongoing, always underlying human states of being was aloneness, out of which you stepped often into social contact and then back again. Society was never absent but you weren’t surprised to slide in and out of solitude. I don’t mean anything romantic; just nobody around at the moment and that’s fine.
Now the default state is connectivity. People don’t disconnect as they move from home to work or just dart out to the store. They, especially the young, are always connected. They wake in the middle of the night and check where their friends are. They don’t panic if they go offline (adults more so than youth, I’ve found) but what’s normal is connectedness.
Perhaps Mr. Salutin has a point.