Sunday, November 11, 2007

From the Regina Manifesto

Given this is remembrance day we should remember our veterans and their sacrifices but it would be a good idea if Calvert and company also remember the pioneer CCFers who in July 1933 issued the Regina Manifesto. The entire Manifesto is available here.The Manifesto provided a vision and something the CCF could build upon and it did. Among other accomplishments the CCF provided the first comprehensive universal health care system in Canada in Saskatchewan a relatively poor province and it certainly did not cause it to go bankrupt as many predicted. Here is what the Manifesto had to say about social ownership:

3. Social Ownership

Socialization (Dominion, Provincial or Municipal) of transportation, communications, electric power and all other industries and services essential to social planning, and their operation under the general direction of the Planning Commission by competent managements freed from day to day political interference.

Public utilities must be operated for the public benefit and, not for the private profit of a small group of owners or financial manipulators. Our natural resources must be developed by the same methods. Such a programme means the continuance and extension of the public ownership enterprises in which most governments in Canada have already gone some distance. Only by such public ownership, operated on a planned economy, can our main industries be saved from the wasteful competition of the ruinous overdevelopment and over-capitalization which are the inevitable outcome of capitalism. Only in a regime of public ownership and operation will the full benefits accruing from centralized control and mass production be passed on to the consuming public.

Transportation, communications and electric power must come first in a list of industries to be socialized. Others, such as mining, pulp and paper and the distribution of milk, bread, coal and gasoline, in which exploitation, waste, or financial malpractices are particularly prominent must next be brought under social ownership and operation.

In restoring to the community its natural resources and in taking over industrial enterprises from private into public control we do not propose any policy of outright confiscation. What we desire is the most stable and equitable transition to the Cooperative Commonwealth. It is impossible to decide the policies to be followed in particular cases in an uncertain future, but we insist upon certain broad principles. The welfare of the community must take supremacy over the claims of private wealth. In times of war, human life has been conscripted. Should economic circumstances call for it, conscription of wealth would be more justifiable. We recognize the need for compensation in the case of individuals and institutions which must receive adequate maintenance during the transitional period before the planned economy becomes fully operative. But a CCF government will not play the role of rescuing bankrupt private concerns for the benefit of promoters and of stock and bond holders. It will not pile up a deadweight burden of unremunerative debt which represents claims upon the public treasury of a functionless owner class.

The management of publicly owned enterprises will be vested in boards who will be appointed for their competence in the industry and will conduct each particular enterprise on efficient economic lines. The machinery of management may well vary from industry to industry, but the rigidity of Civil Service rules should be avoided and likewise the evils of the patronage system as exemplified in so many departments of the Government today.

Workers in these public industries must be free to organize in trade unions and must be given the right to participate in the management of the industry.

The CCF also encouraged Co-operatives. Even now the Co-operative movement remains strong in Saskatchewan. In some ways it is thriving more than the crowns, probably because the government can not sell off the co-ops to line its coffers.

The final ringing phrases about the Co-operative Commonwealth have long faded from public consciousness in Saskatchewan.

No C.C.F. Government will rest content until it has eradicated capitalism and put into operation the full programme of socialized planning which will lead to the establishment in Canada of the Cooperative Commonwealth.


Werner said...

The Leader Post tried to claim that Calvert's pharmacare program would be too expensive just like some of these people used to say about Medicare back in the sixties. Actually I think all medicine should be covered including dentistry and optometry. Of course if we had a real newspaper in this city that would help too.

Ryan said...

Excellent post, Ken. The NDP (esp Sask & Manitoba) should remember their roots.