Monday, April 29, 2013

Retro Waffle: "For a Socialist New Brunswick":

The New Brunswick Waffle, 1967-1972

Patrick Webber
University of New Brunswick


In 1970, several members of the New Brunswick New Democratic Party (NDP) formed a New Left/Trotskyist group within the party known as the New Brunswick Waffle. The NB Waffle gained significant strength within the NB NDP, eventually securing a victory for its radical manifesto, "For a Socialist New Brunswick," at a party convention in September 1971. A dispute, however, erupted over the legality of this victory, which led to a two-month split within the party that required intervention on the part of the federal NDP. By the end of 1971 the NB Waffle had itself fractured and collapsed.

THE POLITICAL FERMENT OF THE late-1960s and early-1970s was global in scope, and New Brunswick was not exempt from the radicalism of the era. The New Brunswick Waffle was a group that represented one of the more prominent and significant manifestations of leftist radicalism in the province during the period, and it served as a catalyst for some of the most dramatic events in the province’s political history. The group was a New Brunswick variation on Canadian, continental, and global political trends of the time and sought to introduce New Left and radical socialist critiques to the specific circumstances of New Brunswick; it also fused the Old Left and New Left in the province for the first time.

During its short lifespan (1970-71), the NB Waffle also managed to precipitate a split within the New Brunswick New Democratic Party (NDP) that had a host of ripple effects on the province’s leftist community as well as anticipating several trends that would emerge on New Brunswick’s political scene during the 1970s such as increased environmental concerns and skepticism about prevalent economic development schemes. Finally, the group made a small but important contribution to the province’s leftist community via generating awareness about the New Left within the provincial NDP. Until recently, however, the NB Waffle has been neglected as a topic of historical inquiry, as almost all of the previous work on the Waffle has focused on the organization in Ontario with some mention of the Waffle in Saskatchewan.

Read the full article HERE.

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