Agrarian Socialism: The Cooperative Commonwealth Federation in Saskatchewan, a Study in Political Sociology

By S. M. Lipset | Go to book overview

Chtapter XI
POLITICS AND SOCIAL CHANGE

THE C.C.F. has held office in Saskatchewan for six years, from 1944 to 1950. It has had the opportunity of demonstrating to the people of the province as well as to the rest of Canada how successful a new party based on the support of the farmers and workers can be in carrying out its goals of a more democratic society. Its overwhelming parliamentary majority has meant that there were few formal restraints in the path of enacting and ad- ministering its program.

It is obvious that democratic reform governments are more a result than a cause of social change. As a result of breakdowns in the integration of existing value structures, community mores gradually change. The need for explicit formal institutional changes gradually becomes recognized by different strata of the population who are adversely affected by the breakdown in the old community integration. The organizations or persons who propose reforms that appear to fill the needs of maladjusted groups win influence and, if the crisis is widespread, power. In a stable democracy, however, the reformer will gain power usually after all elements, even the more conservative ones, recognize the need for change.

Many societies, of course, become so unstable in their structure that agreement on widespread reforms is impossible. This is es-

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