The November 2003 issue of Canadian Dimension featured this extensive interview with Jack Layton shortly after he was newly elected as leader of the federal New Democratic Party. Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin sat down with the NDP leader Jack Layton and asked whether he planned on confronting capitalism, US imperialism, and whether he saw himself as a socialist.
The seeds were sown in the campaign for the eight-hour workday. On May 1, 1886, hundreds of thousands of North American workers mobilized to strike. In Chicago, the demonstration spilled over into support for workers at a major farm-implements factory who’d been locked out for union activities. On May 3, during a pitched battle between picketers and scabs, police shot two workers.
What can those of us committed to the socialist project, to laying the groundwork for a viable mass, democratic, but revolutionary party learn from what our fathers and forefathers did? Serious inquiry into the history of the Canadian socialist movement will help us not only to learn from the mistakes of the past, but also to reclaim what is valuable from this history.
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