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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

BC NDP's anti-democratic disqualification of Appadurai latest in a long line

The disgraceful, cynical rigging of the race is par for the course for a party with a long history of anti-democratic actions internally both at its provincial levels and federally.

In a genuinely grotesque, cynical and profoundly anti-democratic move, the BC NDP's provincial executive council has disqualified insurgent, anti-establishment candidate Anjali Appadurai from its leadership race. This leaves only party establishment supported candidate David Eby and turns the "contest" into little more than a coronation. Eby will become British Columbia's next premier.

Appadurai's great "crime" appears to have been successfully working with other groups and movements to sign up new members to the party, something that all leadership candidates always do:

In a particularly nauseating moment in the whole disqualification "process" that played out over the course of Wednesday (October 19) evening, the council debated for 40 minutes to ultimately decide to not even give her 10 minutes to defend herself against the accusations that had been made by the party's chief electoral officer Elizabeth Cull.

The deck here was very clearly rigged.

You can read Appadurai's quite persuasive rebuttal of Cull's accusations here: aa-response-to-ceo-221018.pdf (

Frankly, the charges made by Cull were pretty obviously specious and many very mainstream and even NDP commentators agree:

The CBC's satire Twitter feed could not resist taking a shot. A shot that may have hit pretty close to the truth:

As has so often been the case, the NDP's heavy-handed, overtly anti-democratic actions -- and this is very, very far from the first example -- sow immediate disillusionment:

Of course, the NDP in various provinces and federally has a long tradition that we have chronicled many times on The Left Chapter of ghosting or blocking candidates, holding dubious nomination meetings, ignoring its membership's wishes and resolutions and on and on and on. From the expulsion of the Waffle to today the party's establishment at all levels has made very clear what would happen to any internal threats to their power and liberal "social democratic" parliamentary careerist orientation.

In fact, while more serious, this was not even the only example of a provincial NDP leadership behaving undemocratically in the last few days.

On what might be regarded as a very basic NDP goal -- given it is allegedly a pro-labour party -- of banning scabs during strikes, Manitoba NDP leader Wab Kinew refused to say he would support legislation doing so even after the party's membership voted unanimously for this at the party's convention.

At the Manitoba NDP's annual convention Saturday, the Official Opposition party's grassroots attempted to ensure Kinew would consider a legislative ban on replacement workers. Members passed a resolution to that effect unanimously.
Kinew later said he said he wants to consult with more people before moving forward.
While a law banning replacement workers "makes sense" to him personally, he believes the issue isn't widely understood by other Manitobans, Kinew said.
Previous NDP premiers Gary Doer and Greg Selinger decided against such bans, saying the requirement of binding arbitration 60 days into a labour dispute had already reduced the length of strikes and lockouts and resulted in labour peace.
The party caucus is not required to act upon resolutions passed its annual convention.

The last sentence is a true understatement.

Appadurai and her supporters say the fight is not over and I am sure it is not.

The NDP, in the provinces and federally, shows us over and over again what it is. It is time for the Left to take heed and move on to building a new, actually anti-capitalist project.



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