We aim to replace the present capitalist system, with its inherent injustice and inhumanity, by a social order from which the domination and exploitation of one class by another will be eliminated, in which economic planning will supersede unregulated private enterprise and competition, and in which genuine democratic self-government, based upon economic equality will be possible.
So begins the Regina Manifesto, which was adopted by the CCF at its founding convention in Regina in July 1933. It was definitely a call to arms. And it was very much in keeping with the radical tenor of the times. Most people would discount, and even ridicule, those sentiments now. But consider the circumstances in which it was adopted. While the West was still six years away from the second global conflagration of the 20th century in the form of World War II, since 1929, and even earlier in some countries, North America and Europe had been ravaged by a severe depression that had caused devastating hardship for millions of lower and middle class families.
Now, much of the world is mired in another depression that has driven home the stark disparity between the haves and have-nots in our society. Is it time for those who embrace a progressive mindset to revive the Regina Manifesto? That's one of the issues that will be explored at a forum titled The Future of Social Democracy in Canada: The Relevance of the Regina Manifesto in the 21st Century. Sponsored by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, and featuring the participation of CCPA senior economist Armine Yalnizyan and sometimes prairie dog contributor Murray Dobbin, it will be held Oct. 16 at the University of Regina's Education Auditorium at 7 p.m.
If you happen to be in Saskatoon on Oct. 17, the forum will be reprised at the Broadway Theatre at 7 p.m.
To get you thinking, here's a song that would probably sum up the feelings of most of the CCF delegates who met in Regina that summer 76 years ago courtesy of U2 and a special guest. (YouTube)