The NDP's Socialist Caucus is a manifesto-driven group of fanatics who want to drive the agenda of Canada's Official Opposition in Parliament.
Jack Layton was able to translate his personal popularity into major gains for his party in Quebec, and was the glue that held the party's disparate moderates and the radical socialists together. Layton's recent announcement that he is taking a leave of absence to fight cancer for the second time bodes as badly for his party as it does for him personally.
Without anyone who comes close to Layton's popularity or ability to moderate the NDP, an internecine, knives-drawn free-for-all is all but inevitable. Layton made an aged, uncharismatic former labour leader from Quebec as interim leader, anticipating his return, but realistically, a second cancer battle is a journey that leaves that likelihood remote.
The NDP's Socialist Caucus is still resentful that the party attempted to remove the word "socialist" from its charter and has fought bitterly to introduce its agenda of anti-capitalist, anti-Israel, pro-Castro Cuba socialism to prominence.
Could it be just a coincidence that only a few days after Layton announced he was stepping down to fight cancer that the Socialist Caucus presented its revitalized website and campaign to move the NDP firmly into the anti-Capitalist camp.
Without a strong leader, this could be a golden opportunity for this faction to insinuate itself as a force in the national NDP. This group co-sponsored a rally calling for violent revolution in Canada, they want to abolish private ownership of industry and property ,and wants to destroy democratic Israel while celebrating totalitarian, Communist Cuba.
The head Commissar of the NDP's Socialist Caucus is one Barry Weisleder, a substitute teacher with the Toronto District School Board.
Like anti-Israel fanatic Judy Rebick, Weisleder thinks Layton's NDP has gone too mainstream, so while offering condolences whose sincerity can only be guessed at, they assuredly welcome the chance that the absence of a strong mainstream leader presents to them.