Although I keep my focus on anti-globalization politics, direct action and anarchist decentralization, something keeps me coming back to party politics. Perhaps I'm a glutton for punishment, or maybe, just maybe, there is something to the NDP. There's a chance I'm not as cynical about electoral politics as I would like to believe I am. After all, I did run as a candidate for the flailing so-called "lefty" party in last year's disastrous election in Stormont-Dundas.
But on Friday afternoon I decide the whole convention sucks and walk out. I spend much of the day hanging out in the hallways reading Emma Goldman or posting updates to IndyMedia. I feel like I'm part of a big bag of bullshit.
Outside the convention hall, I keep joking about the need to start an anarchist caucus in the party. It's funny how some people are actually receptive to the idea.
The highlight of the day is the NPI meeting in the evening. Here, in this gathering of 350, there is passion and vision. Some members of the original CCF talk about the need for a transformation of the party. Others describe how they loved seeing red and black flags in Quebec. I come out as an anarchist, saying I'm more comfortable waving a black flag in the streets than being on the convention floor.
I break into a radical cheer and discover that out there is a contingent of Edmonton radical cheerleaders. We do "To the left, to the left" and everyone loves it. Later, young activists from across the country, inspired by the NPI, create cheer sheets, dress up in costume, sing political Christmas carols and inject some energy into the otherwise frustrating and dull convention.
In the end, the powers that be and 63 per cent of the convention decide to turn their backs on a beautiful moment. But hopefully the project will carry on and we will seriously start to think about how to do politics differently. The NDP has history, commitment and many caring people, but it needs to evolve or it will wither away.