Building a Quebec Party of the Left: A Wide-Ranging Process Is Underway

By Dostie, Pierre | Canadian Dimension, September-October 2004 | Go to article overview

Building a Quebec Party of the Left: A Wide-Ranging Process Is Underway


Dostie, Pierre, Canadian Dimension


Faced with triumphant neoliberalism, the main obstacle to the emergence of the Left on the Quebec political scene is its overall dispersion and weak sense of unity. Under the initiative of the Union des forces progressistes (UFP), the building of unity has become a long-term project. This project poses the double challenge of elaborating a political alternative and constructing a vehicle to carry this out.

The submission of traditional political parties to the new governance (the dictatorship of the private) has whittled away public trust in politics. To renew the goal of citizen power, recent social movements have favoured a reframing of democracy from the grassroots. This, however, has its limits, and more and more "anti-globalization" activists are now searching for a political option.

The challenges presented by capitalist globalization and neoliberalism are colossal, and the struggle has only just begun. Moving from resignation to resistance to an offensive struggle is a laborious process. It entails experimentation, advances and set-backs.

But power is the way to transform progressive demands into reality. It can also permit, through new solutions or approaches, an end to the stalemate of the Quebec national question and the fulfilment of the aspirations of the First Nations, two historical processes that are currently at an impasse.

If it is to be a party of streets as much as a party of the ballot box, a progressive party must see itself in a relationship with the social movements. It must respect the dynamic of mutual independence, complementarity and influence. Most of all, the party must not limit its action to the electoral scene. It must struggle side by side with the social movements. It must assume the responsibility to carry forward their demands on the political front by integrating them into a broad social project. In this way, the strength and the vitality of the social movements can serve as a safeguard against a progressive political party's losing its way.

THE UFP: A WORK-IN-PROGRESS

The urgency of "saving the planet" and what remains of the Commons requires a union of as many progressive forces as possible. The UFP, which defines itself as a party-in-process, chose at its founding to use a federated structure, which permitted not only a coexistence between different tendencies, a reflection of the Left's diversity, but also the development of a common political culture, one that is palpable at our Union Councils and our Congresses. This common culture has permitted the Quebec political Left to make an unprecedented leap forward. …

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