From protest to powerlessness : a Marxist analysis of the Ontario NDP /
Crow, Daniel W.
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Using Marxist state theory as an analytical framework, this thesis explains the problems faced by the Ontario New Democratic Party government (1990-1995) in implementing a social democratic agenda. Not only was the government constrained in its ability to implement progressive policy, but it was also pushed to implement a Social Contract (involving legislated wage cuts to public sector employees) that alienated the party's base of support, making it more difficult for the party to organize in the future. Although this study relies predominantly on a reinterpretation of existing research on the topic, some primary research is used in the analysis, including interviews with members of the labour movement and former MPPs and analysis of the news media's treatment of the party/ government. Historical and class analytical perspectives are used to explain the evolution of the ONDP's structure and policies, as well as to assess the relative strength of the working class and its ability to support a social democratic political agenda. It was found that the ONDP' s unwillingness to develop a long term plan for social democracy, and its inability to act as a mass party or to build a strong working class movement, made it more difficult for the party to succeed when it formed the government. Moreover, the class nature of the capitalist state, along with pressure exerted by a well mobilized capitalist class, worked to limit the government' s options.