1. Our plan of action to make revolution
The Programme of the Revolutionary Communist Party presents the strategic plan for the Canadian proletariat to overthrow the Canadian bourgeoisie, destroy capitalism, build socialism and work towards a classless, communist society. On this agenda you will find the main objectives and the most important tasks that our class must undertake in order to achieve these goals. This document is a course we have charted, a plan of action to bring our historic struggle to its fruition and decisive victory for our liberation, and that of all humanity.
Such a programme is a necessity to unite the vanguard, that is to say the proletarian revolutionaries who want to fight for real change in Canada and who need a common understanding of the prevailing situation and of what must be done to reach this goal. We also need such a programme to support the activity of the revolutionary communist party we are building—a party that is necessary in to lead our struggle and push it towards communism.
Unlike the programme of bourgeois parties, ours is not made up of hollow promises to beguile voters. We do not pretend to significantly better the lives of workers within this system. We don’t want people to believe either that the good will or the undertakings of professional politicians—whether they cloak themselves with the label of “socialist” or “communist”—can wage struggle instead of the exploited masses. These are the only ones able to really transform society and lead it to a higher stage.
In fact, our programme is quite the opposite of the bourgeois one. In no way do we think this system can be improved upon or that it can satisfy the needs of the oppressed or help them to emancipate themselves. Hence, we think that we must wage revolutionary struggle against capitalism to overthrow and destroy it.
The communist programme is not there to please everybody. Society is divided into different social classes whose interests clash with one another. At the top, the bourgeoisie—the capitalists who own the means of production and appropriate, directly or indirectly, the surplus value they extort from the proletariat. Alongside the exploiters are their loyal agents who work to preserve this system. At the other end, there is the proletariat, the great majority, who can only survive by the sweat of their brow.
The communist programme is not neutral. It is based on the interests of the oppressed class—the proletariat—solely on its interests. It is a tool to wage struggle that permits the working class to learn about itself, where it comes from, who it is up against, in what direction it has to move, and especially, how it will get there.
Marx and Engels, the founders of communism, clearly demonstrated how the bourgeoisie, who nonetheless, historically, has played “a most revolutionary part” by toppling and putting an end to the feudal mode of production, has now become an all out reactionary class, as were the exploiting classes that came before it. This class now hinders social and economic development. The authors of the Communist Manifesto have shown that by developing the capitalist mode of production and the capitalist modes of exchange: “…not only has the bourgeoisie forged the weapons that bring death to itself; it has also called into existence the men who are to wield those weapons—the modern working class—the proletarians.”
Endowed with this understanding, the proletariat waged struggle against the bourgeoisie to get rid of it. The Commune of Paris and the Chinese Revolution, as well as the historic October Revolution of 1917 in Russia, were all tremendous victories for the proletariat which has written the most beautiful pages of human history. This battle is merely at its beginning.
Capitalism at the imperialist era has spread its reign worldwide. After more than 200 years of existence, it has proven to be the most ferocious system to ever exist.
In Canada, the coffers of the upper class are overflowing. Every month, 20 billion dollars of goods are sold in this country. Yet, most workers are experiencing more and more difficulty providing for the basics, such as rent and decent food. For the last 15, 20 years, on the international scale, the working class has become more and more impoverished. Wages have gone down and insecurity is growing. At the same time, the three richest people on the planet own more than the poorest group of countries inhabited by 600 million people! The capitalists claim that their system is the best possible of all, yet they can only offer us more misery, exploitation, racism and division. It promotes the most backward and abject ideas, violence against the oppressed, the most barbarous of wars and destruction of the environment. As for the future, still more darkness looms.
However, with the experience that we have chalked up in the last 150 years, whether it is positive or negative, the proletariat can and must raise the red flag, the communist flag. In fact, the revolutionary movement is stronger today than it has ever been. Its rebirth is taking place in countries dominated by imperialism, in Peru, Philippines, India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Turkey, where people’s wars are gaining more and more strength.
It is up to us, Canadian proletariat, to bring our contribution to the developing international movement so we can put an end to capitalist barbarity and so we can guarantee the triumph of socialism and communism by taking up the struggle to overthrow the Canadian bourgeoisie now.
2. Our ideology is Marxism-Leninism-Maoism
At the ideological level, the Revolutionary Communist Party bases itself on Marxism-Leninism-Maoism—that is, a synthesis of the experience of the revolutionary communist movement from its inception to today. During the struggles of the proletariat and the oppressed masses, some of the revolutionary and communist thinkers and practitioners, namely Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin and Mao Zedong, studied, queried, experimented and theorized this experience in order to establish a new science. This science is called Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and it is an indispensable guide to creating a revolutionary movement and leading humanity to communism.
The establishment of this science does not stem only from the personal experiences of Marx, Lenin and Mao. History is its greatest teacher. While capitalism greatly developed scientific and productive forces, it also gave humanity the opportunity to definitively comprehend how the world works and how history has evolved. Before capitalism, it was impossible to understand history and all its vagaries. The working out of the science of communism was possible through their involvement in class struggle, acute ideological struggles, debates within their own parties and the Communist International. Without their involvement in the struggle of the masses; without their involvement in ideological and political discussion, it would have been impossible to produce this science despite their great personal qualities.
“Without revolutionary theory there can be no revolutionary movement,” wrote Lenin in his famous work, What Is To Be Done. Throughout history, dominated and oppressed classes—the “disenfranchised”—led struggles and rebelled against their oppressors. To lead revolutions, revolutionaries relied on what past struggles had taught them. This was the case with the French Revolution. Arriving at one of the first comprehensive studies of history by analyzing it through the perspective of class struggle, Marx laid the foundations of a theory that aimed to transform the world. He devoted his life to the advancement of revolutionary struggle: he laid the solid foundations that enable the proletarian movement to move forwards, towards communism and its liberation. To carry on his work, and to advance our society towards communism, to overthrow the bourgeoisie and give power to the majority of workers, labourers, jobless, immigrants—in other words the proletariat—we must learn from past experiences and act accordingly.
Marxism-Leninism-Maoism analyses historical changes. History moves forward through class struggle. A social class is more than just a group of individuals that share the same interests on account of the way they fit in with each other and the rest of society through the relations of production. A social class must also be conscious of these interests. Only the historical synthesis and the proper ideology of a proletarian party can help them achieve this goal.
The creation of a new science is an on-going process. This is true for the science of class struggle and proletarian revolution, which has seen much progression in its theory: Marxism was the first milestone; then came Marxism-Leninism; and today Marxism-Leninism-Maoism (MLM). These important leaps were made possible thanks to criticism of theory and practical experience gained during the revolutions in Russia and China. New advancements helped overcome certain mistakes. Changes took place within the capitalist mode of production and its relations of production as well as in the processes of reproduction in general. Currently, MLM represents the most advance state of modern revolutionary science. The battles to come will help us move on.
Most of the concepts of MLM were conceived by Marx in close collaboration with Frederick Engels. Marx perceived that the proletariat would one day become the ruling class and that this would eventually lead to a classless, communist society. His dialectical and materialist analysis of historical development starting from the era of slavery, with its revolts, feudalism, marked by upheavals of the peasantry and the rise of the bourgeoisie in the cities, accompanied by the proletariat and its distinct battles as exemplified by the Chartist Movement in England or the very active socialist groups of the Paris Commune in France. Dominated classes at that time did not have a clear theoretical and historical vision of their political tasks. Socialist thinkers described the misery of the proletariat and the peasantry and conjured up new social systems, but their ideas were mainly utopian. Through careful scrutiny of the material economic workings of capitalist society, which is still in development, Marx understood that a new society would emerge from it and that socialism would be created by the proletariat, the working masses, which is the only class that would lead the struggle to its fruition.
Marx’s theoretical mainstay was the writing of a vast and brilliant analysis of political economics. While he led the First International and through his involvement in the Social Democratic Workers’ Party of Germany, he criticized the political economic theories of his time. He helped us understand the fine workings of capitalism and how it reproduced itself. Marx showed us that each class struggling in the political arena was represented by its own political organizations. Organized in the form of a party, the proletariat can overthrow the bourgeoisie, destroy its state apparatus and set up a dictatorship against it to prevent it from re-taking control of society.
The Second International set up by Engels after Marx’s death did not last very long. It is however on this turf where Lenin honed his skills. Subsequently, political currents twisted the hell out of Marxism, making it a contemplative theory incapable of upholding a revolutionary movement. This “bourgeois” and right wing version of socialism reared its ugliest face during World War One as several of its parliamentarian representatives voted in favour of war budgets. In Russia, the Bolsheviks rejected this attitude and decided to struggle against their own bourgeoisie. In 1917 they led the proletariat to its first historical victory. In leading the October Revolution, Lenin convinced the workers that revolution was possible and had to be won through armed struggle.
Lenin’s struggle against the leaders of the Second International led him to found the Third International. This organization led communists all over the world up until the Second World War. Lenin improved upon revolutionary science and brought insight into the upcoming transformations of capitalism. He also expanded our understanding by systemized theoretical thought in regards to the role of a communist party and its function as a centralist-democratic organization. He explained what monopoly capitalism (imperialism) was and defined how the proletariat of rich countries and oppressed nations had to work jointly. His brilliant statement—that Imperialism means war—has stood the test of time. He also understood that the labour aristocracy of rich countries was the social base for right wing reformism. Hence, communists had to rely solely on the truly revolutionary strata of the proletariat. To do so they had to work in putting together a clear-sighted party that would help led the way.
After Lenin died, the Bolsheviks and Stalin carried on. They tried to build socialism in Russia and help build it throughout the world. Stalin fought hard against the old bourgeoisie and against opportunist deviations like Trotskyism. He also led the struggles of the proletariat and the people against fascism in the Thirties and Forties. The Russian proletariat did in fact make enormous sacrifices during the Second World War. Overall, however, Stalin was unable to grasp the contradictions in socialist society. He also failed to understand the erroneous ideologies and weaknesses of the Bolshevik Party. The proletariat was thus overthrown and the gains of the October Revolution lost. On an international scale, Stalin and the Bolshevik Party were too domineering and this led to promoting their erroneous aspects throughout the whole international communist movement.
The leadership of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union would end up embarking down the path of state capitalism. A new bourgeoisie grew out of the state apparatus. They reinstated domination and exploitation over the workers. It is true that the period that extended between 1917 and the treason of the party leaders rested on vast economic sectors based on commodity exchange. On the other hand, socialist economy that relies on the sharing of resources and goods rather than commodity exchange, would still have been able to develop protection against and thwart the growth of those other sectors. When a revisionist leadership took over power with Khrushchev in 1956, various economic reforms pushed for the recovery of capitalism within Russia. The new revisionist leaders made good on the weaknesses of the former communist regime.
The Soviet revisionist thrust their outlook upon most of the other communist parties. Their political line advocated “peaceful competition” with capitalist countries and subservience of other socialist countries to the “soviet homeland.” The revisionists truly thought that it was possible to be as productive as the advanced capitalist countries and adopted the same consumer structures. They claimed to believe in peaceful transition from capitalism to socialism and asserted that revolution was no longer necessary.
China, where a strong revolutionary movement had emerged, refused to follow the Russian revisionists. The revolution that took place in China avoided a good deal of errors committed in Russia. For example, instead of engaging in adventurist insurrections advocated by the Third International that had led to failure in the cities of Canton and Nanchang, the Chinese Communist Party, under the leadership of Chairman Mao, took up arms to fight a protracted people’s war. They had a method and a plan. In the Thirties, Chairman Mao had already criticized the shortcomings of the Russian revolution. One of his contributions was to point out the importance of the revolutionary role of the peasantry. Stalin had misjudged this question. In China the peasants played an important role in the revolutionary struggle and in building a new type of power.
The military science of the proletariat experienced a great leap forward thanks to the struggle of the Chinese and the 1949 revolution. Protracted people’s war, which includes the participation of the masses as being the mainstay of revolutionary warfare; the creation of red bases; the use of these bases for a social transformation that leads to the development of socialism; the command of the party over the armed forces, helped re-established the importance of revolutionary violence and thus helped fight pacifist and conciliatory thesis that prevailed in the international communist movement of the time.
Mao also developed the concept of “new democratic revolution,” resolving the problem of revolutionary strategy in countries oppressed by imperialism and the relations of democratic tasks and socialist ones during revolution.
Mao and the revolutionary leaders of the Chinese CP analyzed the nature of contradiction, the relation between theory and practice. Mao taught how to use this analysis to advance revolution. He elaborated the concept of “mass line.” This concept evolves from the notion that class struggle is what impels revolution. The scientific method of investigation was another of his ground breaking findings. Synthesizing the most correct ideas of the masses and setting the political line according to this work was another of his contributions. He added that once this line was set, the communists had to return to the masses with it in order to broadcast it, explain it, and check out its pertinence in practice.
But it is mostly the analysis of socialism that made the Chinese experience most conclusive. From it came the analysis of the contradictions in socialist society, criticism of the “theory of productive forces,” analysis of the role of the party and the two-line struggle within it arising after the conquest of state power as well as the fact that the bourgeoisie nestles in the new born socialist state. Mao Zedong perceived this danger and alerted the masses with the watch word “Bombard the headquarters” which he uttered in front of the red guards and the vanguard. This cry set off the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. Thanks to this initiative, for more than a decade, the proletarian masses and the peasantry developed socialist practice and stalled the seizure of power by the bourgeoisie. The fact that this effort was aborted after Mao’s death demonstrates clearly the need to unleash several of these cultural revolutions during the period of socialist construction. The masses must actively partake in the dictatorship of the proletariat and prevent capitalism from reforming.
Marxism-Leninism-Maoism is the most advanced state of revolutionary science. Maoism took root in Marxism-Leninism and went beyond some of its shortcomings and historical boundaries. This science must always be improved upon since society and the revolutionary experiences of the masses continuously undergo change. Parties and organizations that rely on MLM to lead revolutionary warfare contribute to its betterment. All in all, MLM is the only thing we have to make revolution.
3. Capitalism: a system of exploitation, misery and destruction
We are in the era of imperialism, the highest stage of decaying capitalism. In this stage, capitalism has henceforth reached the limits of its development and can no longer foster the development of human productive forces. At this stage its negative aspects prevail on its positive ones. The longer it continues to exist, the more it wreaks havoc worldwide in every way: destruction of the environment and human life through wars, unemployment, intensification of exploitation, famine.
The lives of all men and women are closely tied to the social relations that proceed from this mode of production. They are determined by the exploitation of the workers, the ruining of the peasantry, the massacre and enslavement of entire people, especially in America, Africa and Asia. In Canada, capitalism has already followed the same path of development as elsewhere in the world, running the devastating course of systematic and organized theft of the lands of aboriginal peoples and those of mixed ethnicity and the brutal repression of popular rebellions. As a consequence of this and due to the exploitation of the proletariat and the exportation of capital, Canada has become an important imperialist power.
The ferocious competition capitalists wage with one another has progressively led to the centralization of their monetary funds. To pursue this fierce competition, they must acquire more and more money. These changes take on the form of a more powerful scientific division of work, in which the ruling class of each country strives to fully control technology and science that is put to use as an instrument to dominate the proletariat, which in return is forced daily into the limited role of a simple task performer, as a mere instrument to produce surplus value. On an international scale, the control of high-tech science serves as an instrument to dominate poorer and weaker countries. This results in an international division of labour where the resources of semi-colonial countries are plundered by imperialist countries. Imperialists derive super profits by savagely exploiting millions and millions of people living in very backward conditions.
This is how wealth and poverty are created throughout the world. Super abundance lives side by side with utter poverty, from which suffers the vast majority of the inhabitants of our planet. The three wealthiest people in the world are richer than the 48 poorest countries.
Capitalism, a system that spreads poverty
While four big corporations share 90% of the worldwide cereal markets and reap super huge profits, 800 million people living in Asia and Africa are struggling to carve out an existence. Every day, 24,000 poor die of starvation. Two million children in oppressed countries die each year because of problems linked to water supply. At this rate, in a few years’ 4 billion men, women and children will not have any water and more than 6 billion will be deprived of water filtration systems. Seven million children die each year in oppressed countries simply on account of debt owed to rich imperialist countries. The gap between rich and poor countries is widening: in 1820 we were looking at a 3 out of 1 ratio in wealth difference; in 1992 this figure has climbed to a ratio of 72:1 in favour of rich countries.
This dreadful the state of affairs in which capitalism has led poor countries into has more dire consequences than one may believe. For example, the spread of deadly diseases that cannot be cured because of lack of resources and that kill millions of people in Africa, Asia and in the poor regions of America. Seventeen million children each year, which represents 46,500 per day, die of diseases that are easy to cure. Several diseases or injuries that are not taken care of in time leave the poor with after effects that prevent them from earning their living later on in life. Millions of people are unable to learn how to read and write because they are too busy providing for their basic needs or because government infrastructures cannot offer them with an education. One billion people entered the 21st century without knowing how to read or write their name. In a nutshell, if it is possible to sum up so much horror, famine, thirst, the spread of diseases, debt and conflicts due to capitalism kill each year as many men, women and children than did World War II.
Capitalism is a system of exploitation
In rich countries, poverty and misery are on the rise. In imperialist countries, more than 100 million people live under the poverty line. In 1990, figures in Western industrialized countries indicated that 25 million unemployed made up the ranks of long term unemployment. This number climbed to 39 million in 2001. In Canada, 20% of the population lives in need on a permanent basis.
Thirty million poor live in the most powerful imperialist country—the United States of America. Half of its Afro-American population lives in poverty and 13 million of children are suffering from hunger. In Great Britain, since the 1980s, the number of poor people has risen from 9 to 15%. Currently, one and a half million families do not have enough to eat. In Germany, there are six million poor; one foreigner out of five lives under the poverty line. In Canada, millions of people are left jobless or work in poor paying jobs, especially among youth, women, immigrants and indigenous peoples.
The gap between the rich and the poor is continually increasing. In 1960, 20% of our richest citizens owned 30 times as much as the 20% poorest. In 1994, this ratio grew to 78.6 times as much. While the rich are always becoming wealthier, the poor are getting poorer. All of the wealth created in the last years has been snatched up by 5% of the richest citizens.
valuable slaves sale. MIDDLE: A 1990 publicity praising the merits of modern day slaves in El Salvador: “Rosa Martinez produces apparel for US markets. You can hire her for 57 cents an hour.” RIGHT: The same publicity, a year later: as we can see, the hourly wage went from 57 to 33 cents. Clearly, there’s no limit to capitalist “progress”…
The capitalist factory is nothing but a prison where workers are exploited to the hilt in order to make profits for their bosses. These workplaces cause mental illness and injuries to workers. Workers do not have the right to express themselves; they must simply perform the tasks they are paid for. In such a context, they cannot be excited about their work and must act as mere robots, otherwise they will crack psychologically. For capitalists, a harmed worker is nothing more than a broken piece of machinery. It is only a matter of replacing him or her through a mere increase in expenditure. The “murder” of a worker that died on the job is nothing for a capitalist because he or she can be replaced by hundreds of thousands of unemployed.
The massive upheavals wrought by this system of capitalism, which destroys in its path ancient modes and relations of production, explain the ongoing existence of an enormous “reserve army of labour.” These profound changes free entire populations and ready them for exploitation by the capitalists. This was the case for farmers in imperialist countries who had to give up their properties indebted as they were to the banks. Women have to seek jobs on the working market in order to help their families survive. Even though this new gained freedom represents progress for women, capitalism has not provided them with the infrastructure to liberate them from household toil.
Another source of unemployment is the fast growing sizes of firms that put to use an increasing amount of mechanized production. It is not machinery, however, but exploited manpower that allows capitalists to make a profit. This means the rate of profit is on a steady decline as the development of technology follows its course. To counter this decline in profits firms are forced to merge, which in turn creates more unemployment. As for the workers that avoid being laid off, they have to work harder in order to assure profits. The hiring of new workers is stalled by this reality. In the meantime, other firms act likewise to gain an edge on the competition. The exploitation of workers has its physical limits: this is why new machinery is always in the making. This tactic allows capitalists to survive longer. For firms, new investment becomes less and less profitable. Often, it is because they are incapable of selling their products on a clogged market. Bankruptcies ensue, more mergers and more unemployment. After the crisis, the stronger survive with enough capital to be able to reproduce the cycle that led them into this dead-end.
Capitalism destroys the environment
Imperialist capitalism causes much waste of human productive forces. These productive forces, under a different and more just mode of production, would allow the needs of all of earth’s inhabitants to be satisfied. The pursuit of profit will always be in contradiction to the harmonious development of productive forces. This could also comprise new economic policies regarding the improvement of our environment. The problem of environment management is tied into the prevailing mode of production; every environmental disaster is provoked by blind economic interests related to profit-making. Despite the claims of bourgeois environmentalists who say that environmental issues are ones that reach beyond class interests, that they are a “common cause” that we all share on an even basis and that all modes of production are equally destructive and polluting, we deem that the question of environment revolves solely around the capitalist mode of production. That capitalism destroys human life and the environment is not at all surprising to us: its feverish quest of profits has no bounds and does not back away from destroying human lives or the environment
The whole planet is devastated by outrageous exploitation throughout. Exploitation and destruction on such a scale has never been witnessed before: draining of the earth’s minerals, air and water pollution, global warming, extinction of animal and plant species, ecological disasters, poisoning of populations, etc. The big corporations of imperialist countries also plunder poor countries with the subservient help of the ruling classes of the latter. They also use these poor countries as dump sites to get rid of their waste and by introducing some of their antiquated and toxic technologies.
The capitalist mode of production brings with it environmental disasters because the security of waste disposal is neglected to cut costs. Toxic leakage and nuclear accidents occur all around the planet on a regular basis. The thousand causalities caused by the pesticide firm Union Carbide in Bhopal, India, or the oil spilt by the Exxon Valdez off the shores of Alaska, the nuclear accident in Tchernobyl, Russia, or the tinted water in Walkerton, Canada are a few reminders.
When imperialism doesn’t harm the environment accidentally, it harms it to meet its production needs. Thousand of acres of forest are destroyed, rivers set off course, oceans polluted so that natural resources can be dredged up from their beds in order to be used for the aim of making more profits.
Lands as large as entire countries are spoiled by the use of imperialist arms of mass destruction. Thousand of tons of depleted uranium contaminate the soils of ex-Yugoslavia, Iraq and Afghanistan. Such countries as France and the United States sacrifice broad expanses of territory in testing their nuclear arsenals. Companies who pollute are sometimes thrust upon regions of certain imperialist countries or poor countries to solve severe problems of unemployment. The say of locals has no bearing. Protests and struggles take place, of course, but local authorities and regional despots side with the companies. People who want to preserve a healthy environment see their right to express themselves fully denied. It is the people who are concerned by environmental issues and not the tycoons of finance.
In the imperialist countries of America and Oceania it is the indigenous peoples’ territories that are plundered by imperialism. It is promoting oil extraction sites, uranium mines, hydro-electric dams, installations that often pollute indigenous traditional hunting and fishing grounds. After having prevented them from developing their own territory as they wanted to and having destroyed their environment, authorities find no other solution than cramming them into small reserves and introducing them to “civilizations” vices such as alcohol and drugs.
Capitalism generates wars
Capitalism, exploitation and wars are inseparable. All wars in the past century are directly related to the perpetuation of the capitalist mode of production. Whether it is colonial wars, world wars or conflicts of low intensity, interventions by imperialist countries in dominated countries as in Iraq, capitalism through war seeks to survive and preserve its upper strata, the imperialist bourgeoisie which does not hesitate to kill millions and millions of people in order to maintain its dominance. As Marx put it, “capital comes dripping from head to foot, from every pore, with blood and dirt.”
To insure its domination and to grab hold of as much surplus value as possible, imperialism is responsible for the deaths of millions of workers and innocents during the 20th century. Let’s think of the First and Second World War (1914-1918 and 1939-1945); the colonial wars led against the people of Indochina, Vietnam, Algeria; imperialist interventions during the Gulf War; interventions by US imperialists in Latin America (Nicaragua, Salvador, Guatemala, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, etc.).
The crisis of capitalism impels the war machine. To snare the surplus value which is wrestled out of the hands of oppressed people and workers all around the world, the imperialist crooks, trying to beguile us with hypocritical and handy catch phrases and buzz words about the fight for freedom and democracy, human rights, vital interests, the war against terrorism, vie through armed struggle to stake and claim their economic territories.
In this respect, the warmongering by the United States, an imperialist superpower, clearly indicates that if capitalism survives any longer it will usher the planet into a third world war. Billions of dollars are invested in arms that are tested in poor countries. The bombing of the civilian population in Spain served likewise as a testing ground for Nazi arms development. A glimpse of what is to be expected can already be seen by the deployment of US troops throughout the Middle East, by the unflinching US support to Israeli Zionism and US intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan, the open threats dealt to Iran, the increased tensions in Asia (threat of intervention in North Korea and the redeployment of US troops in the Philippines, where the Yankees had been expelled.)
When the Berlin wall came down, the capitalists celebrated: “At last, communism is dead!” Strangely enough, communism still remains a threat. Everywhere where proletarians, peasants, oppressed people are fighting to better their lives, communism looms. It can be seen in the rioting of hungry people, in demonstrations that get out of hand and mostly where communist revolutions are taking place such as in Nepal, the Philippines, Peru and in all of those other places where conditions favour revolutionary struggle and the development of communism. Communism is the future. Capitalism has no solutions to offer, there is only one solution—to abolish this unjust and rotting system through revolution!
4. The battle of two big adversaries
Marxism teaches us to analyze any social phenomena not as something static, but through what Engels called “uninterrupted process” and the contradictions contained within. This is the only way to apply the right methods that will lead to its resolution.
From his famous essay entitled On Contradiction, Mao Zedong insisted on the fact that “there are many contradictions in the process of development of a complex thing and one of them is necessarily the principal contradiction whose existence and development determine or influence the existence and development of other contradictions.” Mao explained therefore that “for instance, in capitalist society the two forces in contradiction, the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, form the principal contradiction. The other contradictions such as those between the remnant feudal class and the bourgeoisie, between the peasant petty bourgeoisie and the bourgeoisie, between the proletariat and the peasant petty bourgeoisie, between the non-monopoly capitalists and the monopoly capitalists, between bourgeois democracy and bourgeois fascism, among the capitalist countries and between imperialism and the colonies, are all determined or influenced by this principal contradiction.”
In Canada, where capitalism has reached its full development, the proletariat and the bourgeoisie form the principal contradiction. Canadian society embodies a whole spate of contradictions. These contradictions will come into play in different ways in given circumstances. Among them are the contradictions within the bourgeoisie between its different sectors, or even between capitalists individually. There are also contradictions between the Canadian bourgeoisie and its foreign rivals—in particular, the US big bourgeoisie. These latter sets of contradictions are inter-imperialist contradictions. The intermediate classes, such as the petty-bourgeoisie, are also in contradiction with the other social classes: sometimes, with the upper class; most times, and under the current circumstances, with the proletariat.
Then, there is the contradiction between the dominant nations and national minorities, which were very important in the history of this country and still continue to play a big part in Canadian political life. Also, some contradictions take place within the proletariat itself: between the different social levels, between workers from different ethnic groups, between men and women, the youth and the elders, etc.
But in the end, all these contradictions are determined by the opposing interests of the bourgeoisie and of the proletariat, which can not be solved in any way but by a revolution. They form two big factions, pitting the revolutionary forces against the reactionary forces. This means that we must uphold the proletarian revolutionary standpoint on all those secondary contradictions.
It is the larger strata of the proletariat—the millions of workers who have nothing to lose but their chains—who constitute the hard core of the revolutionary camp. These strata are notably made up of (not necessarily exclusively):
• The poor and exploited workers who are at the very bottom of the social ladder.
• The workers excluded from the labour market. They comprise the industrial reserve army for the capitalists.
• The new strata of proletarians that come from recent immigration.
• Women who continue to massively integrate the labour market. The capitalists profit from sexism and discrimination and overexploit them.
• The youth that are, more than any other generation, confronted with precarious and underpaid work.
• The Native workers, for who unemployment is the rule and who are subjected to the worst discrimination.
The big trade unions hardly look out for these strata if ever. For the most part, they defend the privileges of the upper sections of the proletariat and the salaried petty-bourgeoisie. They do not represent the interests of the lower and most exploited strata of the proletariat. We, as communists, must devote our attention to these exploited workers. We must target our agitation and our propaganda towards them. They are the ones we must organize and put into motion in order to make revolution and reach communism. The best elements to lead this struggle will be draw from this source—they will be the most determined—in the fight to build a revolutionary communist party.
We refer to this hard core because we are aware that other social strata will and must join the struggle. This even includes some parts of the petty-bourgeoisie. United, they will enfeeble and isolate the enemy. But we must first and foremost organize and reinforce that hard core. They are the ones who shall take the lead in the revolutionary struggle. Otherwise, the higher social classes or strata will take profit of class alliances to their own convenience. In essence they are wishy-washy and fickle. They will not push through with revolution. On the contrary, they will be its gravediggers.
5. The bourgeoisie, a powerful class to eliminate
Many bourgeois ideologues claim that social classes do not exist, or do not exist anymore. Seemingly, the capitalist society would only be a collection of individuals, some being richer than others, at best advantaged, or just “lucky.” Because we are “the creators of our own fate” (who hasn’t heard this cliché!), it ensues that we can climb to the top if we really want to…
As being the ruling class, it is in the Canadian bourgeoisie’s interest to smother the existence of social classes. When it comes down to its antagonistic relation with the proletariat, it becomes even more needed. In fact, it is in its interest—and it works around the clock to achieve this—to hide, or even deny its very own existence. To do this the Canadian bourgeoisie often relies on its allies, phoney socialists. Unable to recognize our main enemy, we can’t wage true struggle.
In this way, elements of this so-called “Left wing,” influenced by Canadian nationalism (and strangely enough, by Québécois nationalism) claimed that there was no big bourgeoisie in Canada; that the country was nothing more than an American colony. The revolutionary perspective was hence to unite all Canadians, or Québécois, regardless of class distinctions, to fight against this common extra-territorial enemy.
Others, more realistic, admitted the existence of a big bourgeoisie, but curtailed it to about “two dozen families.” Here again, overlooking class distinctions, a harmful unity, made up of let’s say 99.9% of the population, was sought to be attained.
Nowadays, with the growing reality of trade and the strengthening of trans-national corporations taking place with “globalization,” it is a common idea that the enemy is “elusive;” that we are ruled by some kind of a “mysterious” force, one that we can not pinpoint, nor fight against.
The common fact with all these point of views is that they concur in negating the existence of an upper class, and therefore, prevent us at best in engaging in any serious analysis, or worse in any criticism. In final analysis, the proponents of such thinking—whether they are nationalists, revisionists, or anti-globalization activists—promote falsehoods and prevent a real proletariat’s struggle. As a good example of this, we can see how they always target an external enemy. After the threat of Yankee imperialism, who will be the enemy? German or Japanese imperialism? Or maybe Chinese social-imperialism? They rely on a Canadian national unity basis, regardless of class distinctions. Another example is to claim that our problems will be solved by getting rid of a “deceitful” statesman or one known to be a “back stabber” (those who are ready to give in or sell “our country” to a superpower). Still worse, that the state should be given more power, seemingly embattled by neo-liberalism and globalization (which is the opposite of what is really happening). The state should be, according to them, a rampart against… capitalism.
Not only do these points of view deceive us in not seeing our enemy and in steering us away from our target, it enlists us in supporting and reinforcing the struggle that the Canadian bourgeoisie wages against its main competitors in its economic war. It only helps the bourgeoisie to better protect its position and to bring us in supporting the wars that it wages in order to spread its domination. Capitalism means war.
We affirm that the enemy does exist! That it is assuredly in our midst and that it is against this very same foe that we must engage in battle if we are to free ourselves. This enemy is the Canadian imperialist bourgeoisie, the very class that controls the federal state and its provincial counterparts. It is a powerful class that cannot be reduced to a handful at the top, or to a strata of millionaires or a group of ultra rich families. To believe this would once again steer us away from our target.
The Canadian bourgeoisie would be nothing without the existence of the exploited proletariat and without the people of the oppressed countries from whom it draws super profits. The Canadian capitalists, like all bourgeois, produce nothing on their own. Their whole fortune is based on the surplus values they extort from us. All of the power they wield, that of the state apparatus, is based on the same foundation. In this regard, the Canadian bourgeoisie is nothing but a “Paper Tiger,” as Mao Zedong said at the end of the Sixties—a paper tiger that the proletariat can and must cast in history’s waste paper basket.
The Canadian bourgeoisie is a minority. It is hard to estimate its exact size. Statistics Canada and the like define the population in terms of job categories or sector of activity. Data on ownership or social rank (status in society’s chain of command) do not appear. However, we can safely say through a comparative study of various data that the Canadian bourgeoisie comprises about 5% to 7% of the population. Thus, they are few and at the same time quite numerous. We are roughly talking about 1.5 million to 2 million people who have vested interest in maintaining this system and that will most probably fight to defend their way of life. In short, a paper tiger, yet a very combative animal of a fair size.
When we talk about the Canadian bourgeoisie, of whom are we speaking?
There is a hard core of big imperialist bourgeois who control most of the financial capital. This capital is one of the most concentrated in the world. The five biggest Canadian charter banks control 80% of the market. Moreover, barely 1% of all Canadian companies (which total less than a thousand) control more than 80% of this country assets.
In 1992, 42 groups out of the 988 biggest Canadian corporations were controlling two thirds of all Canadian direct investments abroad. Seven years later, these investments add up 240 billion dollars. In the last quarter century, the Canadian monopolist bourgeoisie made considerable gains. The assets of big Canadian corporations abroad surpass domestic assets (i.e. investments in Canada from abroad). Among the 250 biggest corporations in Canada, 70% are under Canadian control, 19% are under American control and 10% are under European or Asian control.
To this core, small and middle-sized capitalists are to be added. They do possess means of production and hire wage earners. Also to be added to this nucleus: top executives; owners, CEOs, board members of professional administrative firms; associated lawyers of big law firms; judges; CEOs of big communication outfits; administrators and top executives of government-run corporations (Loto-Québec, Hydro-Ontario, Hydro-Québec, the Société Générale de Financement, Atomic Energy Canada, etc.); big bureaucrats of the federal, provincial and municipal public offices; the high brass of the army and of the police forces; diplomats; political leaders and organizers; leaders of the big trade-unions integrated to the state apparatus.
What is important for us proletarians is to consider—while bearing in mind that we are essentially dealing with a parasitic class destined to extinction—that we are truly dealing with a class, i.e. a “vast group of men and women” united through the relationship they exercise amongst themselves and with the proletariat. A class made up of real people that have at their disposal vast power, even though their power remains relative.
In no way are we denying that inner conflicts occur between them. This is the very essence of capitalism. It thrives on competition at every level, as well as between capitalists themselves. This strife may hit individual capitalists. It can also oppose whole sectors or groups of them who wage bitter struggle against one another for their survival (their profits).
With regards to the debate on free trade, for example, the capitalists who export a great deal of their commodities will most likely be in favour of measures that will give them access to overseas markets. While those who benefit from the domestic market will be in favour of border taxes or importation fees.
Capitalists from different regions or provinces can also be at odds. This reality takes on a political form, like in the squabbles between the federal government and the provinces, or between provinces. These divisions or conflicting interests between some sectors of the upper class are reflected in some of the differences between bourgeois parties.
However, it must be understood that these conflicts are of relative impact. The bourgeoisie has all the more reason to expose them to prevent any challenge to their rule. In certain circumstances, it allows some to enlist certain workers to side with them like it did during free trade talks. An example of this was when the bosses of the garment industry convinced seamstresses and tailors to abet protectionist measures. These policies were intended to limit the importation of garments from abroad.
The unity of the ruling class is apparent when the proletariat decides to act as a class and fight. The Canadian bourgeoisie has at its disposal quite an arsenal of arms and methods to maintain its rule.
First, there is the state, highly powerful and sophisticated in an imperialist country like Canada. Its army, police force, data and monitoring services, as well as its judiciary system are very efficient keepers of law and order. The state is also a powerful source of propaganda (education system, cultural industries, communications…). It allows it to shape our minds and ensure the prevalence of bourgeois ideas.
The electoral and parliamentary system is also a tool in the hands of the bourgeoisie. It serves to fool the proletarian masses in believing that things can be changed through these institutions, uprooting the desire for an uprising and political take over.
The state also serves to put into place a whole slew of mechanisms that have contributed and still contribute to integrating and exploiting the majority of proletarian and petty bourgeois organizations to ensure its control over the masses. Let’s mention, among others:
• The generous subsidies granted to trade-union organizations aimed at “training” and “educating” their members. As a matter of fact, the sole purpose of this scheme is to teach them capitalist thinking.
• The proliferation of committees of all shapes and sizes that are supposedly “highly democratic” and into which are lead literally thousands of trade-union officers and “civil society” representatives who waste their time managing capitalist affairs. Thus they end up acting and thinking like capitalists.
• The policies in regard to subsidy hand-outs to community organizations, women’s groups, youth groups and student associations, etc. which gears them to contribute to the “missions” chosen by the state to serve the needs of the bourgeoisie.
• The direct or indirect creation of groups or organizations that will compete with, and eventually replace those that have chosen to be self-sufficient. Enormous amounts are handed out to these groups and organizations.
One characteristic about the Canadian state is that 10 provincial state apparatuses are attached to it. These governing bodies wield a great deal of power and have at their disposal potent means of social, economic and political control, which make the rule of the upper class more efficient. However, this type of state forces the bourgeoisie to deal with the contradictions that sometimes develop more openly amongst its various sectors. For the most part however, this inner bickering enables it to divide the proletariat and to prevent us from challenging its rule. Not only does this prevent us from recognizing our adversary, but these provincial governments serve the upper class with their specific knowledge of the people they claim to represent: this helps them to snuff out any form of opposition.
The past decade clearly bares testimony to this as illustrated by the federal government’s cuts in transfer payments to the provinces. In response to these fiscal measures, the provincial governments followed suit by copying the federal budget. This greatly impoverished the most exploited workers. Slave labour wages and an overall lowering of wages ensued. Many struggles have been waged against this. In Ontario, it was against the Harris government; in Québec, against the Liberals, then the Parti Québécois. However, the bourgeoisie per se was never targeted and no co-ordination, or very little, ever occurred. There is no better example of a perfectly orchestrated and co-ordinated attack from the ruling class.
We are forced to admit that in many respects the Canadian bourgeoisie is a powerful class. This does not mean that it is invulnerable or unassailable—quite the opposite. But we will never be able to win victory without resorting to the required amount of force. Against the impressive capital that is at its disposal, its bureaucracy and state, we will have to come together as a class, conscious of its historical responsibilities and ready to push the struggle through.
6. The exploited proletariat, spearhead of the socialist revolution
In the same way some people claim that the bourgeoisie is “not what it used to be” or that it does not really exist anymore since the collapse of the USSR and the Eastern bloc, others say in some circles not only that socialism is no longer feasible, but that the “old” class divisions are bygone notions. It is as if to say that the efforts and setbacks of the proletariat to establish itself as a ruling class have lead to its disappearance.
All types of explanations are made in order to prove that the working class has vanished or is waning. Technological development, automation that replaces people with machinery, the increasing army of workers that gives the impression of being excluded from the working market (and the proletariat itself); the middle-class status of some workers—quite obvious indeed—among the proletariat who gain a bit from the plundering of imperialism. The objective is not only to prove that the proletariat does not exist, or barely, but to invalidate any historical role it may claim to transform society and get to a higher stage of development.
To believe to such conclusions, one must ignore reality. It reveals a deep lack of understanding about what the proletariat is—i.e. a class whose existence is defined by its role in the relations of production, a state of affairs that has nothing to do with “personal desire” or political will. Did these relations of production change to the extent that the bourgeoisie can exist without the proletariat? Of course not. As a matter of fact, things do change, most certainly. The development of capitalism, the worsening of competition and class struggle are factors that bring constant changes. This includes changes within the proletariat, namely in its composition. However, these changes do not modify its relationship to the ruling class. On the contrary, it is the very nature of this relationship that explains these ongoing changes.
It is true that there is less and less job security. This goes for all the imperialist countries. The proletarian is no longer a “permanent slave” to a given capitalist for the rest of his life. Another reality is that unemployment is persistent and that joblessness is on the rise. Capitalists turn this to their advantage by instituting workfare and forced labour. This alone proves the existence of the proletariat. However, private and government agencies frequently hire temporary workers. These workers have no rights. The only reason they are hired is to satisfy the needs of the capitalists. In all of the capitalist countries, the bourgeoisie is always seeking to exploit at the lowest possible wage.
If one casts a look beyond the borders of their “country,” it is more and more obvious that the proletariat is the rising class and that there is a consolidation of the phenomenon of two great classes directly facing each other, just as Marx and Engels put it in the Communist Manifesto. In the past 10 or 20 years, in the oppressed countries, millions upon millions of poor peasants, ruined by the exploitation they were subjected to, leave the countryside to immigrate in the cities. They swelled the ranks of the overexploited proletariat, which is to be mainly found in the maquiladoras—these notorious “free-trade zones” that offer capitalists from abroad access to a local workforce who won’t benefit from any social protection. Many have flocked to the imperialist “mother countries.” This exodus has contributed to and will continue to contribute to changing the quantitative and qualitative nature of the proletariat in these countries and make it stronger.
In Canada, even though statistics do not allow us to define it with accuracy, the proletariat represents 65% of the population. This figure comprises workers; employees who carry out orders; the unemployed, with or without wages; most Natives; old age pensioners; unpaid spouses of workers or employees.
Far from being a class on the decline or having “disappeared,” the proletariat constitutes the most numerous class in this country. Not only is it the leading force, but it is also the main force of the revolution.
However, this class is not homogenous. It embodies several contradictions. Its revolutionary experience is still quite limited. Even though it has waged heroic struggles in the past such as the Winnipeg Strike in 1919, the foundation of the Communist Party in 1921 (under the direct influence of its immigrant component), the movement of the unemployed in the Thirties, etc., the proletariat remains politically, ideologically and organizationally dominated by the bourgeoisie.
The current trade-union movement, notably—which remains the most important form of organization of the proletariat—does not represent its fundamental interests. It is unable to articulate anything more than a dull class collaborationist orientation. As a matter of fact, these trade unions have become a tool in the hands of capitalists to control and subdue the working class. It is not only a matter of changing the union’s orientation that would change its nature. Its orientation does reflect its class character. The non-proletarian component in the trade unions counts for more than 40% of the membership.
To this strata of salaried petit bourgeois are to be added workers in the top layers of the proletariat. They lead the trade union movement and have an upper hand on it. By consolidating their presence and clinging to the helm of the trade unions, they have strongly contributed to integrating their organizations to the capitalist system and the bourgeois state apparatus with the massive retirement funds, investment funds and risk capital at their disposal.
For this reason, Canada has become a relatively powerful imperialist country (even though it is not as powerful as the USA). The Canadian bourgeoisie, with the super profits it extorts from poorer countries, has been able to corrupt and win over broad sectors of the proletariat and the petty bourgeoisie. Even though the situation of these workers is insecure (being linked as they are to the highly competitive and shifting character of imperialism) they can eventually join the revolutionary camp, but for now they have a definite interest in defending the capitalist system.
The trade-union movement as a whole, the bourgeois political parties who claim to speak on behalf of the workers and of the oppressed masses (the English Canadian NDP, the Québec Solidaire Party in Québec), the reformist and revisionist Left that claim it can improve the lives of the workers without abolishing capitalism, represent, each in their own way, the interests of the workers aristocracy and the petty bourgeoisie in whom they take root.
Because it represents the fundamental interests of the working class, the revolutionary communist party takes into account this social fracture existing within the proletariat, the gap between the privileged workers and the poorest strata for whom exploitation is the rule. We do not seek to hide this reality or to make believe it does not exist. We do not wish to build the unity of the whole working class independently of this fracture; this would lead to the reinforcement of the most privileged ones and the betrayal of the interests of the most exploited.
In our opinion, the Third International led by Lenin dealt appropriately with this contradiction within the proletariat. With specific reference to the “increasing army of unemployed,” the Theses On Tactics adopted in 1921 by its Third Congress stated: “By actively defending this layer of the working class, by supporting the most oppressed section of the proletariat, the Communist Parties are not championing one layer of the workers at the expense of others, but are furthering the interests of the working class as a whole. This the counter-revolutionary leaders have failed to do, preferring to advance the temporary interests of the labour aristocracy. The more unemployed or short-term workers there are, the more important it is that their interests become the interests of the working class as a whole, and the more important it is that they are not subordinated to the interests of the labour aristocracy. Those who promote the interests of the labour aristocracy, either counterpoising or simply ignoring the interests of the unemployed, destroy the unity of the working classes and are pursuing a policy that has counter-revolutionary consequences. The Communist Party, as the representative of the interests of the working class as a whole, cannot merely recognize these common interests verbally and argue for them in its propaganda. It can only effectively represent these interests if it disregards the opposition of the labour aristocracy and, when opportunities arise, leads the most oppressed and downtrodden workers into action.” We deem that today, where unemployment is persistent, job insecurity and slave labour are prevailing over good working conditions, this tactic is even more accurate.
The goal of the revolutionary communists is to bring the exploited proletariat to act as an autonomous and distinct class apart from the bourgeoisie, in order to free themselves. They must learn to make their very own class interests prevail and assume leadership of its own struggle so it can overthrow the bourgeoisie and be at the helm of a new socialist society in order to push it forward towards communism.
7. Against national oppression! Against nationalism and chauvinism! Fight for absolute equality for all nations and languages!
We will never be as free and equal as we want but the day the running of society will be in the hands of the workers. By overthrowing the bourgeoisie and by establishing a new society, the revolutionary proletariat will abolish all forms of national discrimination and will wage fierce struggle against all types of racism and chauvinism that will linger within society.
To develop a revolutionary point of view in regard to the national question in Canada, we must distinguish truth from falsehood. It is of the utmost importance to unmask the bourgeois point of view on this question propagated by mainstream newspapers, television and in the parliaments. The bourgeoisie is lying to us. It is seeking to maintain its political domination on us in Québec and in Canada; and the national question is no exception.
There is more than one position on the Québec national question. There is also more than one set of interests to be defended. The Québec bourgeoisie defends its interests; the different parts of the Canadian bourgeoisie are also doing so. What we commonly hear about the Québec national question concerns these interests. This is what is at stake and explains the nature of the contention with this matter for more than 30 years.
The existence of a Québec bourgeoisie ruling its political and economical development with its own tools—which includes a “strong” state—clearly shows that as a nation, Québec is no longer subjected to any form of oppression that would prevent its own development and would then justify—as some people still want us to believe—a national liberation struggle including all the classes in this province in order to achieve political independence.
In the rest of Canada, chauvinism and nationalism pushed forward by the big Canadian bourgeoisie only served to create divisions within the Canadian proletariat and between us and the proletarians abroad. There is an absence of a proletarian watchword on the national question. Whether it is the trade-unions leaders of the CLC, the NDP or the Québec trade-unions, they all rely on a bourgeois point of view. This point of view means that in issues of national matters, the interests of the nation always supersede that of the proletariat.
As proletarians, we do not have to make a choice between small or big capitalists. Neither one will try to put an end to our exploitation. On the contrary, the capitalists, and different parts of the bourgeoisie among them, will use nationalism and chauvinism to their profit. They use us to make their own outlooks prevail. In one case or another, it is always for their own benefit and our cost.
Communists throughout Canada have as their main objective to detach the proletariat from any bourgeois “national programme.” We must put forth our own programme that speaks out clearly against all types of national division and oppression and strives for the unity of the proletariat throughout the country.
Canada, a prison for the First Nations
Canada, as the other states born of European colonialism in America, was built on violence, exploitation and oppression towards the First Nations. Before the arrival of the white man in Canada, more than a million Natives lived on these lands. The arrival of the French and the English, who brought war and disease, took its toll on the Native populations killing most of them. In some cases, 80%, 90% and even 95% of some Native communities perished. The Natives needed many centuries (up until now in fact) to rebuild their populations back to their original size.
Nowadays, their situation is still very precarious. Their living conditions leave them with poverty and misery. Their life expectancy is eight years lower than that of the average Canadian. Twice as many children die, as compared to the rest of the Canadian population. Their youth are seven times more likely to commit suicide. In most regions, their level of unemployment is three, even four times higher than the Canadian average.
The living conditions on the reserves are harsh. The governments in Canada have clearly demonstrated that they are unable to solve this problem. The development of the Native struggles and their radicalization, as well as the constitutional stalemate and the dead end in negotiations around their territorial rights, have reached an explosive point.
Today in Canada, there are more and more Native struggles and Native movements putting forth their claims. This is a very important component of the current political situation. Despite the policies of assimilation and of genocide towards the Native people that have permitted Canada to become a powerful capitalist country, they have never ceased in waging struggle. Their fierce resistance, the struggle of the Mohawks in 1990, of the Ipperwash in Ontario, of Gustafsen Lake in British Columbia, the various constitutional crises in Canada, reminds us of this reality. In the last 12 years particularly, new forces have arisen amongst them and are becoming stronger and stronger. Because of those currents, their movements tend to be more radical and directed against the bourgeoisie and its state. We support and defend those currents. The revolutionary proletariat must forge an alliance with the First Nations and unite with them in a great movement of struggle against the Canadian imperialist bourgeoisie.
Today, the Québec state is an imperialist oppressor that we must fight!
To defend communist principles on the national issue means to analyze concretely the situation that exists today. Concerning the national question in Québec, we must reject commonplaces and clichés that the reformist Left and the opportunists propagate. To claim that Québec has played the part of an oppressed nation historically within Canada is one thing. To voluntarily blind oneself to its current reality and in the face of changes that have taken place after almost 40 years of domination—if not of hegemony—by the national movement in Québec: this is a big mistake, that has been made at the cost of the proletariat.
Let’s conclude about that evolution:
• Québec is not under colonial or semi-colonial rule, nor under the domination of an imperialist country. All political rights given within any bourgeois democracy are fully granted to Québec. In the last 20 years this province was able to hold three referendums on the constitutional issue. Quebecers were able to express themselves as freely as possible under bourgeois democracy (which is obviously relative), in order to exercise their right to self-determination.
• The Québec national movement of the last 30 to 40 years that has rallied around the sovereignist and separatist outlook has for the most part harboured ideas contrary to the interests of the proletariat. This question not only acted as a brake in developing the struggle of the proletariat, but it also served to build a strong state in the service of the bourgeoisie.
• The Québec state and its bourgeoisie are integrated in the worldwide imperialist system. It is not on the side of the dominated countries, but on the side of the dominating countries. The Québec state, its “national” institutions, its financial network, its big ideological apparatus, the capitalists in the middle-size firms, shares the attributes, the characteristics and the aspirations of imperialism. This is clearly demonstrated in its relationship with the First Nations. From a status of oppressed nation, Québec is now an oppressor nation.
For 30 years, the Québec bourgeoisie has completely dominated all talks about Québec’s national question. Their propaganda also succeeded in reaching the very heart of the workers movement. For the proletariat, this resulted in a disaster. After 40 years of squabbles subtly entertained between various fractions of the bourgeoisie, the trade union and grass roots movements in Québec have been won over to a “consensus” created by the bourgeoisie in the province, which is embodied by the P.Q. Taking full advantage of this “consensus,” it succeeds in attacking a disarmed proletariat. Enough is enough! We must rid ourselves of the yoke of nationalism. The proletariat throughout this country, of any nationality, must take the tools that will help us to unite!
A programme to unify the proletariat in Canada
In Canada, aside from the Québec and Canadian nations, there are about 50 Native Nations. The growing assertiveness and developing struggles of the First Nations and Métis are troublesome for the federal government. There are more than one million Natives in Canada. In the Maritimes, there are more than 300,000 Acadians, mainly to be found in New Brunswick. They also comprise important minority groups in Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. In Ontario, there are nearly 500,000 Franco-Ontarians. In Western Canada, there are also many French minority groups. There are more than 160,000 of them. In certain cases they are practically devoid of all rights. They are sometimes left unprotected by the law in this regard, being deprived of access to education in the language of their choice. These issues of different nationalities have lingered since the foundation of Canada. They result from the process of conquest and the development of capitalism in North America. The conditions of these different nations are closely linked to the reality of capitalism in Canada. Capitalism in Canada has grown out of the oppression of the First Nations, of the Québec nation, of the French living outside of Québec and of other national minorities.
The only way to heal once and for all the historic wounds that French Québec has sustained is by waging the general struggle for absolute equality of all languages and nations. This includes also the rights of the French people outside of Québec. A struggle on any other basis only plays into the hands of bourgeois nationalism and consequently loses its democratic character.
• For the absolute equality of all languages and nations!
We have to fight for the equality of all languages and nations. We shall oppose ourselves to any forms of privilege and national exclusivism, such as unilinguism. The struggles targeting the bourgeoisie and its state apparatus, in order to fight national oppression and for equality, are part and parcel of a general resisting movement against capitalism. This reinforces the revolutionary camp.
Otherwise, nationalism and chauvinism reinforce class collaboration, weakens the proletariat and turns us away from revolution. This reinforces the bourgeoisie, both in Québec and in Canada.
By struggling for the equality of all languages and nations, we are not only fighting for the rights of the workers in Québec, but also of those throughout Canada so they can live, work and be educated in their language. Capitalist society cannot satisfy these demands. To satisfy them would mean a greater investment in time and in money for the ruling class. The issue at hand is indeed complex, but a lot can be expected if we are able to move from a profit making to a classless society, in which production is aimed at satisfying everyone’s needs!
• Struggle against national oppression and for the right to self-determination for oppressed nations!
We uphold the right of self-determination for the oppressed nations. This means their political right to separate. This right is denied to the First Nations. They have never been able to exercise it. Their aspirations for emancipation have always been suppressed with violence by the bourgeois state apparatus, in Québec as in Canada. Wherever the Natives are oppressed, we must fight with them; we must seek to weaken the bourgeoisie who oppresses them!
• The Québec sovereignist movement: a 100% bourgeois project!
The Québec nationalist movement is a ploy to create a fallacious unity between the ruling class and the proletariat. It serves the purpose of reinforcing class collaboration and for maintaining social peace. After more than 30 years of national struggle in Québec, the support of the organized workers’ movement to the sovereignist project has only served the interests of the upper class. The exploitation of the proletariat has in no way been solved. The reason is because this exploitation is no longer based on national oppression, but stems from the nature of capitalism itself.
Nothing, absolutely nothing in the sovereignist project of Québec will lead to the emancipation of the working class. The upper class and the workers movement blinded by nationalism will not admit this. However, we, of the working class, herald this truth loud and clear!
• To win over nationalism and chauvinism,
we must vanquish capitalism!
Currently, even if certain realities of national oppression still exist, it is because the bourgeoisie and its various components have always been against thoroughly democratic and fair solutions. It is by struggling against the bourgeoisie that the working class will be able to lead an uncompromising struggle against national oppression wherever it may occur. The proletariat has no interest in perpetrating or entertaining any form of national oppression. For this reality only serves the interest of the ruling class. It derives super profits from this state of affairs and maintains its domination on the workers through the divisions it creates. Also we must be against any form of privilege one nation may have over another—whether it takes the form of unilinguism, in Québec or in any other province.
The Canadian proletariat must lead an uncompromising struggle against nationalism and chauvinism. They divide the working class throughout the country. Our struggle must take on the form of a struggle for the consolidation of the unity of our class and all of the most exploited classes on a “national” basis which encompasses Natives, but also other minorities stemming from immigration, and refugees.
• Against division, we must unite!
Generally speaking, our claims and slogans, in regard to all our struggles, to every political question should be formulated in the following way: What divides us? What unites us? The proletarian immigrants, the refugees share the same interests we do over the question of exploitation. We must wage struggle with them throughout Canada in order to free ourselves from the chains of division, of racism. We must unite with them to build a revolutionary force. In Québec, also we must break away from class collaboration and compromises that nationalism leads us into.
8. Women of the proletariat: being left behind for a long time, now at the forefront!
To overthrow the power of the bourgeoisie and to end exploitation, the proletariat—the only revolutionary class as of yet—will have to put into action its formidable force which is dormant today after centuries of exploitation and alienation. In the struggle to make socialist revolution and destroy capitalism, one of the most exploitative systems in history, proletarian women are playing a central and decisive role.
Liberating the world from the yoke of class exploitation can only occur by rallying the most oppressed layers of society, those who have the most interest in ending injustice and who will fight to the end towards the liberation of all. Because they are among the most exploited, proletarian women have today a leading and vanguard role to ensure that a revolutionary struggle will be well-led to the end.
We talk about proletarian women because we base ourselves on the materialist conception of class struggle as the motor of history. Women are not a homogeneous group being determined exclusively by their gender; their material conditions are a determining factor in their class-consciousness. Proletarian women constitute one of the most exploited groups in capitalist society. The same is not true, for women as one group regardless of their social condition. Although inside every class, some specific groups are not as well secured as others and suffer of inequalities, prejudices and violence, they are not necessarily placed in direct conflict with capitalism. For us, this conflict with capitalism is the one that determines their aspiration for revolution—that is to say the destruction of capitalism towards communism.
As a theoretical and historical current, bourgeois and reformist feminism rather tried to resolve women issues without taking into account class struggle. The proletarian women who wish to accede to social equality can not expect the bourgeois feminist movement to resolve this issue, although it claims to fight for women’s rights. This movement is “built on shaky bases made of sand” as Clara Zetkin used to say. Neither the solutions nor the strategies it put forward are questioning the power of the bourgeoisie as a ruling class. Its general outlook is limited to reformism, that is to say to win small reforms addressing issues which concern a minority among women—the most privileged—and which are not satisfactory for a majority of them. Its claims stay generally within the legality of the bourgeois and capitalist framework. This fundamental distinction makes that feminism to remain a reformist current, working on a landscape dominated by the bourgeoisie. We reject this bourgeois feminism. We rather put forward a proletarian and revolutionary feminism.
Marxism really made it possible to well define the issue of women’s oppression in history, by demonstrating that the social position of men and women are the result of the social relationships which developed themselves throughout history. These relationships have been modified at each step according to the different economic forms of society. The role of men or women is also a social product and it follows more or less quickly the transformations of the society where they live.
“In the social production of their life, men enter into definite relations that are independent of their will, relations of production which correspond to a definite stage of development of their material productive forces. The sum total of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society, the real foundation, on which rises a legal and political superstructure and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness. The mode of production of material life conditions the social, political and intellectual life process in general. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, but, on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness.”
A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy
All pre-capitalist societies were characterized by a material and sexual division that explicitly established, based on gender, what men and women could do in the public and private spheres. This went with an ideological legitimization of such sexual division of labour based on nature or on supernatural forces. Even though this sexual division of labour took on different forms and developed itself in different ways, it has invariably led to patriarchal relations, which gave to men, particularly men of the ruling class, more resources and a higher social status than to women. They left to women the responsibility for the care and education of the children. Patriarchy relies on patriarchal family. That is the transmission mode of property by which the man, owner of the family wealth, transmits it to one of his male descendants according to paternal filiations. From this definition of patriarchy emerges the fact that all other aspects, ideological and otherwise, are linked to the issue of the family heritage and of its extension and transmission.
Women’s oppression under capitalism
These social relationships based on patriarchy are destroyed by modern capitalism which is replacing them by its own relations of production. With wage-earning being extended and above all, with women participating massively in the labour force along with the development of other capitalist relationships, it leads invariably to rationalization and growth and to the application of logical and scientific patterns of thought and labour. We can assert that the capitalist mode of production, once it reached the imperialist stage, eroded patriarchy by generating individuals who think of themselves as being more and more equal, regardless of their gender and by creating social relationships which encourage the individuals to relate with each others no matter their gender.
Capitalist society today is the result of the productive forces development throughout history and of the class struggles of the past. A good part of social relationships under capitalism (for example, the relations between men and women, the division between manual and intellectual work and between the cities and the countryside) were inherited from that past. But today in the capitalist-dominated society, these social relationships—including the one between men and women—evolve mostly according to the needs of the production mode.
Since the beginning of the class-based societies, the sexual division of labour as well as the women participation in material production; the family organization as it was institutionalized by state; religion, law, culture and ruling ideology: all of that had assigned to women a lower position, characterized by the most diversified forms of domination and oppression. Capitalism is destroying all of these relationships, norms and ideas, because to maintain itself, it must perpetually stir up the social relations of production.
Whereas in countries dominated by imperialism, patriarchy and the institutions that are derived from it play an important role in maintaining women’s oppression and exploitation, the general situation in the imperialist countries is different. In Canada, more than one hundred years of capitalism and class struggle made sure that patriarchy, as a social relationship, does not play a decisive role anymore in the social organization of capitalism. Some old ideas, vestiges of patriarchy, still survive today in capitalist society. These ideas express themselves through the forms of sexism, chauvinism, violence towards women and their use as sexual objects, or in some men’s behaviour still resisting the complete emancipation of women in today’s society. The equality of rights between the sexes in the society and in today’s family, and particularly the legal equality in terms of property (and by extension, heritage) are making sure that for women, capitalism now became the main form of domination. As the Communist Manifesto stated more than 150 years ago: “The bourgeoisie, wherever it has got the upper hand, has put an end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations.”
The old idea which stated that women’s position both in the family and society was immutable has collapsed. Family, like all other social institutions is in perpetually changing; it transforms itself according to the evolution of economic relationships and property. Freed from their dependence towards men, women became to be under capital’s domination.
In order for them not to be crushed by competition, the capitalists have to increase production to its maximum. The evolution of modern industry made women labour a necessity being subject to the needs of capital. If the women’s labour is necessary for capitalism to survive, it is just as necessary for the survival of the proletarians. In the past, the earnings of a man were sufficient to ensure the existence of his family; now it is barely sufficient to ensure his own survival. Today, the male proletarian is forced to count on the earnings of the woman; this labour under today’s capitalist conditions could not be considered as a simple appendage of his own work. “[TRANSLATION] …Modern industry, by assigning a decisive part to women and children in the process of production socially organized outside of the domestic sphere, creates the new economical foundation for a higher form of family and of relations between men and women.” (Marx)
Likewise, every advance in the capitalist production accelerates the movement of women towards salaried work by simplifying labour and making part of the workforce useless while deskilling a large majority of workers. But this change in capitalism occurs so it can satisfy its own addiction to profits. Therefore thousands of female proletarians integrating the process of production continue to see their wages declining and their conditions getting worse: part-time work, working hours being fragmented, accelerated pace, etc.
What we see here is not, as many bourgeois feminists are pretending, patriarchy’s influence, but rather capitalist exploitation at its most barbaric and reactionary form: in the capitalist world, something is productive if it produces surplus-value, no regard of the quality of the work nor of the usage of the goods being produced. Although being socially needed, the domestic work being mostly done by women, just as the work in some areas of the economy where women are overrepresented, are done for free or very badly paid because it does not produce surplus-value. The fate of half of humanity comes in this way to meet that of the other: poverty and exploitation for the profit of a small minority of the rich.
Revolution, the only solution!
Women from the proletariat, through their struggles, are more and more convinced that the problem of achieving total equality is not an isolated issue or a “female problem” being separated from other political issues; there won’t be any permanent solution to be found unless we transform fundamentally the society we live in today.
But so the proletarian women can express their anger to its full and fair extent, we, all together as a class, must ensure the conditions that will make it possible. Proletarian women will join an organization that will allow them to organize themselves and to learn through fighting; most of all they will join an organization that will embody the conflict opposing the old world of the capitalist system which must be destroyed and the new world of socialism still to be created. It is left to us and to all women who want to transform in a revolutionary way this rotten society, to elaborate the communist programme for women’s liberation and to gain the support of the proletarian women for socialist revolution.
The next step: A revolutionary proletarian feminism
To radically transform capitalist society, our general perspective is to build a proletarian women’s movement including female workers, those being unemployed or on welfare, single mothers and female migrants, political working-class organizations, women of youth organizations with a proletarian orientation. Such a movement, which allows to mobilize all the power of women in the struggle against capitalism, is needed to ensure that the proletarian revolution will triumph as well as to go forward in the ideological struggle against inequalities, sexism and chauvinism, which still exist among male proletarians right now.
As a revolutionary organization, the RCP is developing its own activities based on one goal: communism. It upholds the need of achieving the tasks which lead to this goal, by applying a correct political line and relying on those who are the most exploited by capitalism. Taking into account the unfavourable situation of proletarian women in the history, this means that women have to return from a long way back to make revolution. We call on this proletarian women’s movement to move towards a liberating change by joining in the general struggle to build a revolutionary communist party and the fight for communism in Canada.
Such a movement will develop around two objectives:
1) To win the support of proletarian women for socialist revolution:
• through Marxist-Leninist-Maoist education, agitation and propaganda in proletarian milieu;
• by developing solidarity with the struggles of women in oppressed countries;
• by encouraging them to join into the RCP;
• by putting in place measures that will allow women within the party to participate fully in political life;
• by developing their leadership abilities in the class struggle.
2) To develop the communist programme for women’s liberation
• by investigating the real needs of the female workers as well as the discrimination and oppression which they live through;
• by putting forward immediate demands to improve the condition of the proletarian women, including around reproduction issues (free access to contraception and abortion; free daycare; full salary in pregnancy and in maternity leave; etc.);
• by waging campaigns to fight sexism and chauvinism among the proletariat;
• by fighting without mercy against the capitalists and whoever exploits women as a sexual object and against violence towards women;
• by fighting against repression towards prostitutes and by defending sex workers.
We say our feminism is proletarian…
…because we base ourselves on a materialist conception of history stating that no one escapes the material conditions which determine our conditions of existence. By asserting this, we clearly demonstrate our opposition to bourgeois feminism as well as to its different petty-bourgeois variations, namely “socialist” feminism and radical feminism.
At the beginning of capitalism, the proletariat united its forces with the bourgeoisie to eliminate feudalism once for all. In the struggle against patriarchy and for gender equality by law—a struggle in which bourgeois women had a progressive role—it was possible to unite the bourgeois, petty-bourgeois and proletarian women’s movements. But once formal equality was achieved, it was predictable that the different women’s movements would divide themselves again. Today, there are infinitely more contradictory interests than common interests to be shared between a bourgeois woman and a proletarian woman.
After the Marxist-Leninist movement collapsed in the imperialist countries, the proletarian perspective on this issue almost disappeared. Along with the decline of the Marxist-Leninist movement in the 1970s and after the big protests of the 1960-70s’, the feminist movement left the streets to install itself in the comfortable and soft academic environment, making most women to forget the methods of their struggle: revolutionary mass actions and revolutionary class mobilization.
While reforms proposed by bourgeois feminism—that is to say feminism which seeks class conciliation—are only satisfactory to a handful of privileged people, communism is struggling for a radical and total transformation of the exploitative and oppressive relationships of capitalism, where each victory for proletarian women is a victory for a huge majority of the women. While petty-bourgeois or idealistic feminism sees a-historical categories as immutable, communism sees the relationships between social classes and the changing-character of these relationships, which allows transformation.
…because there cannot be a real women’s nor men’s liberation without revolution; because it is impossible for proletarian women to reach total equality if they leave the structure and the system of capitalist production to remain unchanged.
9. Our goal: Communism
Our primary goal, as proletarians, is to overthrow the Canadian bourgeoisie and to conquer state power. From there a new stage will begin—the building of a new socialist society—as a prelude to communism, where we will see among others the disappearance of state, of party, bourgeois law, social classes, money and market relations.
This stage must be understood as a transition period. It will serve to destroy the remnants of the old society in terms of mode of production. The old society will linger on. We will have to eradicate it entirely and prevent it from reshaping itself. But we must also work at building communism. To move on to communism we will need to prepare greatly in material terms, i.e. productive forces will have to be developed and transformed in order to eventually satisfy everyone’s needs. But mostly, there will have to be a lot of political and ideological work done to prepare for this next step. Social relationships will have to be deeply transformed; proletarian ideology will have to triumph over bourgeois ideology. Human beings will have to learn not only to manage their lives but also to manage it in concordance with the well being of the whole of society.
When we speak of communism, we are talking of a society without exploitation. Co-operation will have replaced competition. This does not mean that individual differences will vanish and that individual needs will be all the same. The needs will vary according to the individuals, the regions they inhabit, the epoch they live in. However, these differences will not be sources of inequality. Because society will be able to satisfy everyone’s needs.
In order to do this, productive forces will have to develop consequently. It also implies that the classes and most of all, the bases on which they rely (private property of the means of production, sexist relations as well as social division of labour between intellectual and manual work) will have disappeared. By eliminating classes, this will also lead the disappearance of the state as being the tool for one class to dominate over another. Society will be collectively managed by the people.
To allow such a society to develop, imperialism will have to be vanquished, i.e. not only shall the bourgeoisie have been overthrown and the period of transition towards communism be undertaken in Canada, but throughout the vast majority of the world’s countries. The time will then be ripe for humanity to overcome the barriers of nations. Co-operation on equal terms, between peoples, will see the light of day.
The transition period called socialism will serve to prepare society to advance towards communism. This transition period is important, for society will not change dramatically from one day to the next.
To establish the dictatorship of the proletariat
This “political transition period in which the state can be nothing but the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat,” Karl Marx spoke clearly about its main objectives: “This Socialism is the declaration of the permanence of the revolution, the class dictatorship of the proletariat as the necessary transit point to the abolition of class distinctions generally, to the abolition of all the relations of production on which they rest, to the abolition of all the social relations that correspond to these relations of production, to the revolutionizing of all the ideas that result from these social relations.” (The Class Struggle in France 1848-1850)
Why did Marx, and after him the revolutionary communists, speak of socialism as a period of “dictatorship” when it is supposed to be an epoch where people emancipate themselves and develop their potential? Simply because the proletariat—that is the only class that has an interest in abolishing all forms of exploitation and oppression and lead society on the path of communism—will have to constantly face stubborn opposition from the bourgeoisie. This opposition will be felt at the national as well as the international level. A bourgeoisie according to Lenin “…whose resistance is increased tenfold by its overthrow (even if only in one country), and whose power lies not only in the strength of international capital, in the strength and durability of the international connections of the bourgeoisie, but also in the force of habit, in the strength of small production. […] And small production engenders capitalism and the bourgeoisie continuously, daily, hourly, spontaneously, and on a mass scale.” (Left Wing Communism, An Infantile Disorder)
Once the proletariat is in power, it will have to suppress the bourgeoisie and the counter-revolutionaries. It will also have to assume leadership of the transition process, i.e. chart its own path through the guidance of its most advanced elements (convened within a party). It will have to lead (or neutralize) the other classes that are not hostile to socialism, but who will not necessarily feel that great of an incentive to push society forward towards communism.
Finally, the dictatorship of the proletariat will consist in the fierce repression of the reactionaries, and at the same time the enhancement of democracy among the people, and among the revolutionaries.
To eliminate the bourgeoisie as a class and build proletarian power
Here is how Lenin described what socialism is about: “…We are faced with a new and higher form of struggle against the bourgeoisie, the transition from the very simple task of further expropriating the capitalists to the much more complicated and difficult task of creating conditions in which it will be impossible for the bourgeoisie to exist, or for a new bourgeoisie to arise.” (The Immediate Tasks of the Soviet Government)
This transition period will be one of struggle and debate on ideological, political and economic fronts. The proletariat at the helm of society will have to put to widespread use the positive experiences in transforming social relationships it will have been successful in accomplishing at any given point. This also means encouraging the experiences that will have already been undertaken before the seizure of power. The consolidation and the generalization of new forms of power that will have been undertaken during the revolutionary struggle will also help the proletarian masses in learning to govern society. Revolutionary committees such as the Soviets will have to be encouraged so that the proletariat and its allies can achieve their goal.
Lenin spoke clearly on the chores of the proletariat in establishing and consolidating its power: “Our aim is to draw the whole of the poor into the practical work of administration, and all steps that are taken in this direction—the more varied they are, the better—should be carefully recorded, studied, systematized, tested by wider experience and embodied in law. Our aim is to ensure that every toiler […] shall perform state duties without pay; the transition to this is particularly difficult, but this transition alone can guarantee the final consolidation of socialism.”
This will be a guideline to help us judge the correctness of our work in the period of socialist construction. Any policy that helps eliminate capitalism will be a good policy. Any policy that will prevent the restoration of capitalism will also be good. Whatever fosters and helps consolidate new social relationships will also be welcomed. This period, as we have underlined, will be characterized by struggle. There will be steps made in the right direction and there will be setbacks. At certain times, the proletarian revolutionaries will have to make tactical concessions to the enemy. But we will have to make sure that our overall strategy paves the way towards communism. Otherwise capitalism will reappear as has been witnessed in the USSR and in China.
Nothing guarantees that socialism and communism will prevail at first trial. The only thing we can be sure of is that the struggle that will take place after the seizure of power will be a relentless one. Social classes will not have disappeared. The main social contradiction will once again be between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, the same as in capitalist society. Under socialism however the proletariat will have the upper hand.
When we talk about the continuing existence of social classes, what we mean is that the material basis for their existence will not have been totally swept away. Firstly, the threat of capitalist restoration will come from the elements of the old bourgeoisie. They will have been stripped of their ownership of the means of production and will no longer retain political power, however, because of their knowledge, their social relations, their ability to lead (whether it simply be by mere habit), they will try to play some kind of leading role in society.
Also, the relations of production will not have been radically transformed at first in all shapes and forms. Certain types of small production will remain, division of work also will not have been totally eliminated either. Other inequalities will persist such as those between the leaders and the led. The old ideas of the bourgeoisie will not have magically vanished either (even though revolutionary struggle will have considerably weakened them). To certain degrees, individualism, among proletarians too, and the bad habit of passing along to others (because of more education or experience) decisions that one could make him or herself will be other types of undesirable behaviour.
New bourgeois elements will come from this basis. Some of them will issue from the Communist Party itself, especially from its higher levels, who will try to consolidate and extend their privileges. This new class of bourgeois will advocate ideas, conceptions and measures—in a nutshell, a political line—that will make society regress and move backwards towards capitalism.
History has shown us that this new bourgeoisie is the biggest threat to socialism. One reason is that they are integrated within the very heart of the state apparatus and of the party. These phoney communists are very deceitful in that they are often mistaken for real communists. And they nestle in the state apparatus. As Mao said after 25 years of struggle to consolidate socialism in China: “You are making the socialist revolution, and yet don’t know where the bourgeoisie is. It is right in the Communist Party—those in power taking the capitalist road.”
Carry on revolution until it’s done!
The contradiction between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, class struggle that continues under socialism, will define the struggles that will take place in the new society. Historical experience shows us the path we must follow, the overall orientation that we must take. This struggle will take the form of a struggle between two paths, or two lines. The fiercest of this struggle will be within the party itself and will last during the transition period.
Contrary to the belief of those who wish for a smooth course, without impediments, revolutionary communists do not fear political struggles. Quite the opposite, we know that it will happen, regardless of our wishes. This is why we are eager to engage in it and resolve it. The general interests of the proletariat will be at stake—the communist point of view will have to prevail.
This two-line struggle is not a bureaucratic one. It is not a struggle that will be restricted either to the highest levels of the state apparatus or to the political party. To wage struggle only in these places will not be sufficient in order to prevent capitalist restoration. The threat of capitalist restoration lies within the very heart of the socialist society. This is what Mao explained when he unleashed the Cultural Revolution: “The struggle against the capitalist roaders in the Party is the principal task, but not the object. The object is to solve the problem of world outlook and eradicate revisionism.” Then: “If world outlook is not reformed, then although two thousand capitalist roaders are removed in the current great Cultural Revolution, four thousand others may appear the next time.”
This new bourgeoisie will have to be pushed aside with all the might that the dictatorship of the proletariat can muster. The participation and the support of the masses will be needed. This is the only way we will be able to better the understanding of the masses in the historical chores that they will have to undertake to move society towards communism. This will be a way to transform their conceptions of the world, as Mao put it. It is by mobilizing the masses, by getting them involved in the process of struggle against the bourgeoisie that it will be possible to implement new policies, new ways of doing things. This will make our will to transform things more concrete.
This is the profound meaning of the Cultural Revolution that Mao had successfully set off in China. This is one of the phases that have to be undertaken to move from socialism to communism. The Cultural Revolution represents the most advanced experience of revolutionary transformation in the history of the international proletariat. In order to vanquish capitalism, make necessary rectification and reach communism, we will have to wage many Cultural Revolutions all along the transition period.
The state that will exist during the socialist phase, but will progressively “wither away,” must lead the masses into assuming leadership of society. The conditions to allow them to do this must be set. This will require spare time for the masses (provided by the reduction of the working week); a collective take over of household chores; the furnishing of tools such as ink, paper, along with locations and information to hold meetings must also be provided so they can express themselves freely, etc.
They must also work in destroying privileges that are imparted to those who are in positions of leadership. One way to do this is to enable them to vote and to revoke leaders. The reduction of salary disparities between leaders and the proletarian masses and the participation of managers in labour are also tasks that will have to be undertaken.
In the long run, everyone must assume leadership. Not only that of a firm or of a neighbourhood (although this will be a necessary step in the process of learning), but equally that of society as a whole. This means the organization of its activities and the mastery of the direction it will be headed for.
In order to make this type of participation possible, and to insure it is something authentic and unlike the bogus consultations the capitalists hold on occasion for the people to give them the impression that they are partaking in a democratic process, the state itself must undergo change. It must give birth to new types of leadership, based on the participation of the masses.
At the end, we must remember that socialism is not only—nor even at first—a type of ownership being transformed through nationalization and state appropriation of the means of production. Most of all, socialism means to transform the relations of production and all social relations. It is through that change in the material bases of the society that we will be able to achieve a true revolutionarization and transformation of the whole superstructure: that is to say political institutions, education, culture and ideology. This will be an ongoing struggle to truly eliminate the social pyramid, and strive for the definite seizure of power by those at the bottom and their allies. They are the ones that must become the true masters of society.
The revolutionary proletariat will have to undertake a series of measures and tasks once state power is won over. This has nothing to do with empty “electoral promises” like the ones of bourgeois parties. Rather it is a partial list of measures that give an indication of what kind of transformations will have to be undertaken so that the historical period of socialist building may be successful, i.e. to foster the destruction of the capitalist mode of production and prepare for communism.
As soon as the bourgeois regime is brought down, the revolutionary proletariat will set up a new state that will be the instrument of its dictatorship over the bourgeoisie and a tool to consolidate its new power. This state will grow out of revolutionary councils, some of which will have already been set up through the development of the revolution, in the very tradition of the communist soviets of Russia. This ultimate form of expression and organization of proletarian power must consequently be spread out and standardized throughout the country. The revolutionary councils will determine and implement all of the necessary measures for establishing and developing socialism. They will be the main organs of power around which the dictatorship of the proletariat will evolve.
• Expropriation without any compensation of the big bourgeoisie, namely the banks, big corporations and communication networks; nationalization of property and movable property wealth, of lands, the subsoil and water resources; development of socially and collectively organized means of production; putting together, in all production units, of a type of management that will see to the overall interests of the proletariat, i.e. to the satisfaction of collective needs and abetting the revolution world wide; management of workplaces according to national and local plans that will assign tasks to be carried out, allocate resources and determine the destination of products.
• Cancellation of loans, household loans and all other types of loans owned to banks, the state and the imperialist bourgeoisie. Cancellation of loans and credits incurred from other countries. Transformation of the financial assets of the workers and petty bourgeoisie in the form of savings devoid of interest rates, of which the holders may use as supplementary or differed revenue; the value of these savings must be maintained at their primitive value in terms of buying power. Immediate dissolution of investment funds and risk capital, including those of the trade unions; safeguarding of savings, pensions and all other means of subsistence earned by the workers.
• Partaking in socially useful types of work, except for those recognized as too old, ill or incapacitated. Recognition, collectivization, and “desexization” of housework (with popular kitchens, laundries, household upkeep, etc.); wages decided by the organized groups of workers themselves in relation to the quality and quantity of work; granting a universal allocation to all those who cannot perform a socially useful task (kids, students, elderly, handicapped). This will help women overcome male domination and children overcome domination by their parents.
• Constant and progressive reduction of salary gaps until their complete elimination, be it between manual labourers and intellectuals, men and women, leaders and those who are under their leadership, between the more educated or more qualified and others who have less, between cities and the countryside.
• Salary of top management or any other officer to whom a public office job was confided to according to the average salary of a worker (also called the “communist maximum”). Locals, means of transportation, office furnishings needed to perform their tasks should remain public property.
• Safeguarding of individual property of autonomous workers while keeping in mind the overall collectivization of property as an objective; support in the application of the most perfected, safest and most productive technologies; planned system of orders and furnishings and guarantee of outlets; progressive and voluntary transformation of individual or family businesses into production and distribution coops, to be eventually transformed into collective property.
• Participation of all leaders, including those from the party, in basic tasks.
• Management courses in various workplaces as to enable the periodical replacement of managers and their mandatory return to the performance of basic tasks in order to avoid the renewing of the bourgeoisie through the creation of function specialization.
• Political education of the most advanced elements from the masses as to insure the replacement of party leaders who shall be forced to perform basic tasks in order to avoid embourgeoisification of the party.
• Development of economic exchanges with other countries through reciprocal interests with respect to national independence; immediate end to occupations of native territories; development of friendly relations with socialist countries.
• Dissolution of the army, police and all other repressive organs of the old bourgeois state; expulsion from Canadian territory of all foreign armies, police and spies; arming of the masses and constitution of proletarian militias that will strive to develop and defend the new state power; upholding of a permanent red army responsible of preventing counter-revolution and of defending our country against any foreign threat.
• Cancellation of all military, political and commercial treaties signed by the old reactionary regime, including those who maintain the aboriginal nations in a position of subservience; expulsion of all diplomats, officers and agents of foreign states who do not respect the decisions taken by the revolutionary authorities, who try to influence the masses or whose presence is useless; material and active political support to revolutionary proletarian organizations and to organizations fighting against imperialism.
• Dissolution of public administration bodies of the old bourgeois state (at the federal and provincial level, the aboriginal band councils, municipal councils, school boards or groups who managed the health system, etc.).
• Power must be given in at all levels (central, national, provincial, regional, local…) to a unique revolutionary council composed of elected delegates, being removable at any time by those who elected them; this council must reflect a fair representation between men and women, the youth and the older, activists within or outside the party, etc.; proletarians as well as all of those who participate in the socialist construction can vote.
• Dissolution of professional associations and organizations of the bourgeoisie (Chamber of Commerce, Conseil du Patronat, etc.); abolition of political and civil rights of members of the monopoly bourgeoisie; obligation for all other bourgeois people to submit themselves to workers collectives if they want to keep these rights; repression of any move by the bourgeoisie attempting to restore its ancient privileges and power, to use its moral authority and other of its means in order to influence the masses and social life.
• Election and revocability of justice officers, public office managers and armed force or militias commanders.
• Absolute equality of all languages and nations; recognition of the right to self-determination for the oppressed nations; interdiction of any form of discrimination on the basis of spoken language, knowledge of language, belonging to any nationality or coming from any ethnic origin; respect of national and minority group rights, including the right to an education in one’s culture as well as its preservation.
• Reduction and limitation of daily work hours; interdiction of mandatory overtime or forced night shifts, beside when this would be absolutely necessary; limitation on hours worked at difficult or health hazardous tasks, planned rotating work shifts.
• Valuation of volunteer work, performed outside regular working hours; as production increases and when the situation allows it, vigorous implementation and generalization of distribution of the fruits of production to “everyone according to his needs” rather than “according to his work;” transformation of all social activity into volunteer work allowing free expression of creativity and emancipation of each individual; reduction of mandatory work until its complete elimination.
• Recognition of the right to strike and to organize, of the liberty to demonstrate for the proletarian strata as main means of expressing their dissidence.
• Nationalization of urban real estate assets belonging to capitalists; collective attribution of housing to answer the needs of the proletarian masses; collective improvement of cleanliness and quality of housing; free and secure use of public utilities such as electricity, gas, water systems; availability of real estate assets and public space for social and community activities.
• General organization of the masses and direct overlooking of their performance in managerial tasks by their very own popular organizations in an increasing number of social realms: economy, culture, health, education, justice administration, public order, territorial defence, struggle against counter-revolution, organization of proletarian militias, etc.
• Parental leaves and paid leaves for taking care of children must be generalized to all workers; physical and moral protection for pregnant women during their pregnancy and in the period after delivery must be ensured; as well as the right to abortion and free access to contraception; free day-care centers for children must be put in place in all working places and neighbourhood.
• Recognition and education concerning child care issues being a collective responsibility and so, being also the responsibility of the working units, of the public administration and of mass organizations; measures instituted to help the youth free themselves from their immediate family in order to foster their full development as well as their emotional welfare; participation of the youth in productive labour with respect to their capabilities, in order to help them acquire experience, knowledge and social skills that will help them emancipate themselves.
• Mobilization of the masses to fight against exploitation and violence towards women and children and against submission of women to men; launching of frequent and generalized political campaigns against sexist and traditional values and valuation of the participation of women in all realms of social life; neutralization of reactionary elements who act against the full emancipation of women; re-education and punishment of rapists, incest perpetuators, child molesters, sexual exploiters and recidivists.
• Abolition and interdiction of racial discrimination under all shapes and forms: at work, in regards to housing, access to public services, etc.; bestowing of equal rights to all workers, migrant or not; dissolution of racist and supremacist organizations; valuation of cultural exchanges between workers of different nationalities; opening of borders to workers who come from abroad.
• Consistent struggle against homophobia and all forms of discrimination towards gays and lesbians and other sexual minorities.
• Recognition of everyone’s right to health care and social services; free access to hospitals, health centres and recognized health care giving; universal sanitary education and struggle against private propriety of medicine.
• Nomination of elected and revocable work inspectors endowed with the authority to intervene and take the necessary measures to protect hygiene, assure security in workplaces and environmental sites.
• Creation of work dispatching centres bearing the responsibility of managing the workforce in a rational manner; developing work skills and knowledge in order to reduce differences between intellectual and manual labour, management jobs and task performers; spreading of knowledge and experience between firms.
• Balancing out of industrial development throughout the country in order to fight capitalist tendencies to form “megacities;” protection of natural heritage; development of equal political and economic relations between cities and countryside.
• Recognition of the right to live in dignity for elderly people, including the possibility of putting to good use their experience to help forward the overall revolution, namely in their role to coach younger generations.
• Complete and total separation of church and state; freedom to practice religion, and propagation of science and atheism by the revolutionary state.
• Availability and freedom of access to public services, including telephone services, mail services, radio, Internet, public transportation (including inter city transportation), museums, etc.
• Development of collective control on environment and resources; preservation and protection of all that is necessary for the satisfaction of collective needs and the advancement towards a classless society and the realization of communism throughout the planet.
• Putting together a collective tool box and collective goods available to the community for community work.
• Free public polytechnic and scientific schooling mandatory for youth; development of close links between education and productive work; dismantling bourgeois universities that will be transformed in research and development centres to serve the revolution, of which access shall be free and will be accessible on a class basis and on the basis of one’s willingness to serve the people and the revolution; obligation for upper level students to participate in productive work; opening of schools to youth coming from countries oppressed by imperialism and representatives from liberation movements; schools shall be led by the revolutionary councils that will name their managers, who will be revocable anytime.
• Development of a comprehensive and varied cultural life that will help the masses and the workers understand the problems they face and the world situation, find appropriate solutions and move ahead to solve them; creation of a climate that allows liberty of expression, struggle against reactionary ideas and the consolidation of proletarian power: “Let a hundred flowers bloom; let a hundred schools of thought contend;” free access to the press, radio, television, information networks, locals and necessary means to develop worker’s democracy.
• Valuation of intellectual work that serves the masses and the revolution; utilization of knowledge and scientific heritage to improve material, moral and cultural conditions for everyone; abolition of intellectual property, patents, author’s rights and artistic property.
10. The path of revolution in Canada: Protracted People’s War
It is clear that in Canada the bourgeoisie has been utterly useless for quite a while. It does not play a positive historical role anymore. The Canadian bourgeoisie is for sure a powerful class, but it is above all a deeply reactionary and parasitic social class. It is only able to stay on top by tapping into all the resources it has at its disposal and by using them against the proletariat.
In Canada, we are now at the historical stage of preparing for a transition to socialism. The dictatorship of the proletariat has to be established. There is no need for a democratic or anti-imperialist stage that would justify delaying the struggle for socialism.
The objective of the proletarian movement is to destroy the bourgeois state and all of its institutions. It is also to liquidate the private ownership of property of the big bourgeoisie. Then society shall be organized in order to allow the proletariat and the masses to assume social leadership and make society move on to communism.
Such a perspective excludes straightaway any possibility of a pacifistic transition. The recourse to violence is unavoidable. The preparation of revolutionary struggle that will overthrow the bourgeoisie is what we must plan.
Currently, the bourgeoisie, which is in the minority, imposes its domination on the vast majority of the people, mostly on the proletariat. In essence, it does this by using violence. This is not always obvious because the bourgeoisie hides the reality behind a smoke screen it calls democracy. The bourgeois are able to do this because there is no true opposition to their domination for the time being. However, only a small event, even if quite isolated (like the uprising of the Mohawk nation in Kanehsatake in 1990), is enough to force the bourgeoisie to reveal its true nature.
It is mainly through the state—this political, ideological, bureaucratic, judiciary apparatus, and especially their police and military forces—that the bourgeoisie maintains its domination. To overthrow it, the proletariat must face this apparatus. We will have to confront it and destroy it. The proletariat will have to use revolutionary violence to fight against reactionary violence. The revolutionary violence will not only be necessary to face the repression of the exploiters, but it will also be necessary to destroy the old state apparatus, and to establish and defend the new state empowered by the dictatorship of the proletariat.
Historical experience has proven time and time again that the “peaceful transition towards socialism” dreamed up by the revisionists, is a bloody and harmful illusion. It is a fallacy that does nothing but set us up for a loss. The imperialist bourgeoisie will never cede power without a bloody fight!
By putting forth the idea that we can achieve socialism by adding an ever growing string of reforms and of “progressive improvements,” or by simply rendering capitalism a thing of the past through “sheer progress,” reformists are only spreading fallacies. But what they are mainly doing is preparing an alternate way of struggling for the bourgeoisie when they will be at their most desperate.
Concerning revisionist organizations, such as those of the Communist Party of Canada who think that they can wrest power out of the hands of the bourgeoisie and build the proletarian state by using bourgeois institutions (let’s say by getting the people to vote in a handful of communist MPs), the latter allying themselves with a few “socialists” and “enlightened Liberals” in order to form a progressive majority in parliament, well, history speaks for itself!
An ever-growing numbers of Canadian proletarians reject the parliamentary system. They see it as it is: a pitiful circus in which the only way people can participate is by helping create the illusion that it is a democratic process, but in which they are not able to bring any real change to society. Elections are nothing more than an occasion to choose our favourite bloodsucking oppressors.
We, revolutionary communists, declare: Boycott the elections! Down with bourgeois parliamentarism! We are not seeking to improve the conditions of our exploitation, but to end them as soon as possible, to end these conditions and all forms of oppression. We want to destroy the power of the bourgeois state. We do not want to improve it or make it more efficient. Our wish is to conquer political power—power to the proletariat! This is why we must wage revolutionary war. This is why we must prepare ourselves to confront the bourgeoisie.
In order to do this, the first thing we must do is free ourselves from the yoke imposed upon us by the bourgeoisie. This means to break free from the old tactic of the official Left who wants to keep politics within the bourgeois law. Whether it be the trade-union movement as a whole; the community movement; the network of Non-Governmental Organizations (the NGOs); the organizations who cater to the poor by claiming to help them with food and the like; the reformist parties; or those who claim to be revolutionaries such as the CPC, the CPCML, the Trotskyists but who will not transcend the limits imposed by the bourgeoisie: they all put their actions in the frame of the capitalist system and refuse, no matter what their real aims are, to come out of it.
In opposition to the official Left who sticks to bourgeois legality and who let its modes of action be tailored by bourgeois structures, we propose to boycott the state. We propose to boycott its institutions; all of its “administration counsels” and organisms of management by which we are incited to determine our conditions of exploitation. As well, we propose to boycott all co-operation bodies—between the state, the unions and the bosses—that are becoming more and more numerous and that have as sole purpose to make us think and behave like the bourgeoisie. We also propose to boycott the bourgeois rules, political parties and, of course, the bourgeois parliamentary system.
To have any real effect, such a boycott must be actively undertaken. It must be based on the will to clearly separate us from them and assert our existence as a social class. This differentiation is clouded by the nebulous term of “civil society.” By politically and socially isolating the bourgeoisie, the boycott of the state will help us to clearly outline the two opposing sides—the revolutionary side and the reactionary one.
To talk about socialism and revolution in Canada, as we have stated, means necessarily that we talk about violence, therefore about armed struggle between the two big social classes that will face each other. Above all, this must leads us to work hard and well to prepare this unavoidable confrontation.
Historically, the majority of revolutionary currents who have taken up action in the imperialist countries, including Canada (those who have at least recognized the necessity of using revolutionary violence), have generally estimated that this struggle would have gone through two phases. Those two phases would have been absolutely distinct one from the other. Firstly, there would have been a protracted legal struggle; then a phase of insurrection, followed by a civil war, that shouldn’t last too long, and that would end with the overthrow of the bourgeoisie.
By only emphasizing the legal struggle, “protracted and painstaking” (as it is commonly said), the communists in the imperialist countries contributed to maintain the proletariat in the frame of strictly bourgeois discipline. On the other hand, they prevented the proletariat from preparing for warfare. This conception spread a very harmful illusion within the masses by not allowing them to prepare themselves for revolution, or even for insurrection. If we take stock of the revolutionary experience in the imperialist countries, here is what we see. By sharply dissociating those two phases, the movement in general, with barely an exception, has come to totally neglect the preparation of the second phase.
Yet, since the start of the 20th century with the development of imperialism, Lenin had seen and analyzed the dangers of legalism and he tried to help communists who were active in the big imperialist cities to break with this approach: “It is generally agreed that opportunism is no chance occurrence, sin, slip, or treachery on the part of individuals, but a social product of an entire period of history. The significance of this truth is not always given sufficient thought. Opportunism has been nurtured by legalism. […] There is only one conclusion a socialist can draw, namely, that pure legalism, the legalism-and-nothing-but-legalism of the ‘European’ parties, is now obsolete and, as a result of the development of capitalism in the pre-imperialist stage, has become the foundation for a bourgeois labour policy.” (The Collapse of the Second International)
The socialist revolution can not be restricted to the moment of the seizure of power by the proletariat. It is at first a struggle to overthrow the bourgeoisie, followed by the actual overthrow of its power, then the work to build a new society; each of those steps prepares the one to come. It is a “protracted and painstaking” historical process, for which violence not only plays a key role at a given time, but is also part of it as a fundamental and permanent subject.
It is possible, at the end, that the proletariat will likely seize power after a phase of insurrection; at some point, capitalism would reach such a crisis that the bourgeoisie would be unable to govern society any longer; at which time the masses will rise to overthrow it and take power. But how can we imagine that the ruling class would not notice the progress of its inner enemy in a country like Canada, with such a powerful and modern state endowed with a high tech surveillance system and repressive apparatus, living beside the most powerful imperialist country in the world? How can we imagine that the upper class will be “taken by surprise” and that the revolutionary proletariat will succeed to get rid of it without at first being properly and sufficiently prepared?
To prepare for revolution is not only a question that we must think about once in a while, between two strikes or election campaigns. Nor something that we should simply write about to finish off an article. It is not something we should start thinking about when the bourgeoisie will have clearly declared war upon us. To prepare for revolution is to make concrete preparations. It is to start to wage struggle politically and ideologically right now. As our comrades from the Cellules communistes combattantes in Belgium wrote in an assessment that they put in circulation in 1994: “The role of communists is not to entertain the democratic functioning of bourgeois society, it is to prove the feasibility of the revolutionary path. This means to show the proletariat that it has the military capability to fight against the bourgeoisie and to be victorious in defeating it (even at a small level).” (La Flèche et la Cible—Our translation)
To successfully fight against the bourgeoisie, we must learn how to fight. Learning is also a practical process that we can know from experience. By practice, we do not only refer to a small or big professional army (something that is undeniably important but not sufficient in itself), but mostly to the fighting experience of the masses who will play the main historical part of the revolutionary process.
For all these reasons, we believe that in Canada, the armed struggle for socialism and for setting up the proletarian power will be necessarily of a widespread nature. We will make revolution in Canada through protracted people’s war.
Mao Zedong has systematically applied the principles of protracted people’s war during the Chinese revolution. The military line that he elaborated embodies, in our opinion, a universal character; i.e. it is applicable all over, in all types of countries, although in conformity with concrete conditions that prevail. Among these principles, let’s mention:
• The role and the necessity of revolutionary violence to transform society and revolutionize social relationships.
• Participation of the masses as a decisive factor in the war.
• The principle of building base areas to be used for the beginning of gradual social transformation even before the seizure of power.
• The building of a red army and the party’s leadership over this army (in opposition to Guevarist conceptions). This means that the military work must be link to the work of agitation and propaganda, led by the party.
• “Every Communist must grasp the truth, ‘Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun’.”
These principles are to be applied differently, according to the concrete conditions of a given country, its social class’s reality and their forces. In countries oppressed by imperialism where the peasantry is still the main force to make revolution and where therefore, the heart of the revolutionary forces are to be found in the countryside (like in China, Peru, in India and the Philippines, just to name a few), protracted people’s war consists of the encircling of the cities from the countryside. Revolutionaries establish base areas that put into practice new proletarian life-styles at their inception. This new way of living prepares the masses for the upcoming realities of socialism.
In Canada, like in the other big imperialist countries, protracted people’s war will mainly take place within the cities and urban areas. It is there that the nascent proletarian power will appear. The support and the participation of the masses, once again, are of the utmost importance in this process. The revolution will be built around a vast and underground network led by the party.
The protracted people’s war will follow different stages. At the start, the legal activity will probably play a more important role than the illegal one. However, the latter will come into play in a more and more prominent manner until the day when the proletariat will be able to face the bourgeoisie massively.
In any case, whether we are talking about legal or illegal work, the principle that guides the communists is the same, that is to say to accumulate forces—not just for power’s sake, but for the purpose of building and strengthening revolutionary forces and eventually to weaken those of our adversaries. These two types of work to be combined must serve only one goal—that of advancing the revolutionary struggle.
At the current stage, if we are to seriously consider leading a revolution we must strive to build three important elements that will allow us to do so: create a revolutionary party, a revolutionary army, and arouse the masses to revolutionary action.
11. Build the revolutionary communist party of the Canadian proletariat!
“If there is to be revolution, there must be a revolutionary party. Without a revolutionary party, without a party built on the Marxist-Leninist revolutionary theory and in the Marxist-Leninist revolutionary style, it is impossible to lead the working class and the broad masses of the people to defeat imperialism and its running dogs.”
For all those who really wish to put an end to exploitation and oppression and get rid of the Canadian bourgeoisie, our main task is to build the new Revolutionary Communist Party of the Canadian proletariat.
Since the old Communist Party has given way to revisionism and gave up the fight for socialism at the start of the 1940s, the Canadian proletariat constantly suffered from the absence of this indispensable instrument of struggle for its liberation. There have been some attempts to rebuild such a party, especially during the 1970s; at that time, some Marxist-Leninist organizations had undertaken this task very seriously, but their efforts were fruitless. Today, the Canadian proletariat is organized and led… by the bourgeoisie. More precisely, by those reformists parties like the NDP that speak on its behalf, lead its organizations and want to make sure the struggle of the workers stays within the limits authorized by the ruling class.
The party that we are building is totally different from those old workers’ parties who have now achieved bourgeois respectability. It is also totally different from those who are cast in the same mould and wants to replace those who already exist if ever they become discredited. The party that we are organizing is also completely different from the set of parties and organizations that claim to be revolutionary or even communist or “Marxist-Leninist,” but whose outlook does not go beyond the electoral farce and /or parliamentary tricks.
No, the party we are building is a genuine revolutionary communist party. It is a vanguard party that brings together proletarians who are the most conscious of their class interests and all revolutionaries who support the cause of the proletariat.
Why a vanguard party and not a party for the whole class, like the Trotskyists suggest? Simply because history teaches us that the proletariat spontaneously does not go beyond reformist thinking or at best, trade-unionism. The proletariat truly exists as a social class: that is a fact, no matter class consciousness exists or not. However, his ideas, his understanding and his consciousness remain under the domination of the bourgeois vision, which is so pervasive in our society.
Spontaneously, the proletarian consciousness, even in its most radical expression, will not outgrow the spirit of rebellion. For its consciousness to go from rebellion to revolution, the minority of proletarians who already have a revolutionary consciousness—because of their experience, but mainly because they have acquired some theoretical knowledge concerning revolution—must be organized.
We are all aware of how well organized the bourgeoisie is. It has a state apparatus, a police force, an army and political parties. The proletariat is also well organized but all too often, it is the bourgeoisie who organizes it. This should be evidence enough of the importance for the proletariat to get well and solidly organized so that it can carry out its objectives.
But to be well organized is not enough. We also need a vision, a clear outlook that states who we are and where we are going; a vision of the world that reflects our fundamental interests and that allows us to break away from the bourgeois perspective that tailors our lives and our thinking.
This proletarian ideology is summarized today in what we call Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. It is definitely a question here of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and not just of Marxism or Marxism-Leninism, because it is our belief that Mao’s contributions to the revolutionary science of the proletariat as well as the experience of the Chinese Revolution—and especially, the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution—are experiences that we must absolutely take into account to distinguish between the revolutionary line and the revisionist and reformist ones. Therefore, Marxism-Leninism-Maoism is the ideology on which our party is based on.
But the RCP distinguishes itself from bourgeois workers’ parties not only from an ideological and a political standpoint: it is also different in its style and organization. Our party’s only raison d’être is to make revolution and build socialism, then communism. It must work with the proletarian masses in order to bring them to act collectively as a revolutionary class. It must assume the responsibility of educating and organizing.
The party mainly carries out its educational tasks through communist agitation and propaganda, publishing of paper and magazines, distribution of leaflets, intervention among the broad masses, organization of study groups, etc. Agitation and propaganda not only serve to overcome bourgeois ideology and points of view and to expose capitalism as the source of the affliction of the masses: it also serves the purpose of demonstrating how socialism represents the only possibility of true emancipation of the proletariat. But its most important function is to propagate the necessity and the possibility of revolutionary action, of distinctly proletarian politics totally separated from those of the bourgeoisie.
Agitation, propaganda and education are the only way that the party can guide and lead the masses. This also requires constant organizational work—especially the progressive and systematic rallying of the most advanced elements within the proletariat.
It is the objectives of the party which determine its organization. Be it only because of its opposition to parliamentarism and the electoral system, the party seeks in no way legal recognition on the part of the bourgeoisie and its state. It certainly must take full advantage of the possibilities it has to develop activities of agitation and propaganda as thoroughly as possible within the broad masses. But at the same time, as a distinct and proletarian party clearly separated from the bourgeoisie and its institutions (and whose aim is to destroy and overthrow the bourgeoisie), the revolutionary communist party organizes itself clandestinely, avoiding any form of state control, preserving its autonomy, its capacity to act and the security of its activists.
The communist party is an organization that groups together the vanguard, those who we call revolutionary proletarians. It is an instrument of struggle, the headquarter of the revolution. One does not become a member only by purchasing a membership card or by having someone offer them one (as is the case in bourgeois parties). To be a member of the party, one most be involved as an activist, to be part of one of its grass root organizations (a cell); to take part in the discussions and the internal life of the organization; to contribute to its financing and the realization of its goals.
The fundamental organizational principle of the party, which corresponds to its current struggle at any given point in time, is democratic centralism that is to debate on the broadest possible scale and to firmly unite in order to be able to apply its decisions.
Within the ranks of the party, struggle over political line is not only permitted (in many cases it is a matter of fact), but we hoped for it to happen and we encourage it. Communists are well aware that correct ideas don’t come out of the blue. They develop in the fight against erroneous ideas.
Sometimes, the correct line—the one that corresponds to the fundamental interest of the proletariat—may only be advocated by a minority, especially in some specific bodies. This was namely the case in China, before Mao launched the Cultural Revolution. Consequently, this minority must be heard and must have the opportunity to express ideas that go against the current, to wage a struggle as fierce as possible against bourgeois conceptions and to steer the party back onto the revolutionary road. What’s important is that once a decision is reached, everyone devotes themselves to carry it out, including those who doubt the worthiness of this decision and have decided to pursue their arguments within the organization. It is also an important task to be able to evaluate the nature of the contradictions that are developing within the party to see if they are antagonistic or not.
Of the three tools the proletariat needs to wage revolutionary struggle, the party is certainly the most important. Without the leadership of a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist party, a revolutionary army will flounder into adventurism and armed revisionism. And the movement of the masses will never be able to go beyond its fully justifiable rebellion onto revolution.
Does this mean that the formation of these three tools must be carried out over three distinct periods (first, the formation of a party; secondly, building of an army; and finally, waging the revolutionary action of the masses)? Absolutely not. The revolutionary action of the masses (led by the vanguard nucleus, even though we are only at the first stage of party building) and the construction of the military apparatus can and must help to reinforce the political component—the party, namely to bring to it the most advanced elements.
To assert the utmost importance of the party and its careful building is mainly to make sure we never forget this task as central. This is crucial because to overlook it and to concentrate efforts on the two other tasks would be simply a waste of effort. Every action we take, the policies we put forth must be done with the objective to form and reinforce the party.
12. A red army to confront and defeat the enemy
“Without a people’s army the people have nothing.”
The second tool that the proletariat needs in order to wage the revolutionary struggle against the bourgeoisie is a revolutionary army—a red army—that will not only be able to confront reactionary violence that the bourgeoisie will unleash against us, but also to impose social, political and economic transformations on the forces that will try to prevent it from doing so.
A revolutionary army is not an adventurous group motivated by individual goals that are different than those of the revolution. It is essentially an active body of people, distinct from the party but which is under its control, who perform military tasks decided by the party. Activists within the party can be soldiers of the army, but every soldier is not necessarily a member of the party.
Depending on the situation and following the different steps the revolution will take in Canada, the revolutionary army will be called upon to accomplish numerous and various tasks. Whatever they may be, they will all concur in strengthening revolution and/or weakening the enemy.
Even though the revolutionary army is under the leadership of the party, it exists on its own basis. It must assume its own growth, basing itself on the principle of self-sufficiency. The expansion of the army staff and of its equipment has to be fully assumed by the military itself. Throughout all of the revolutionary process, from its very inception to the final battle, the revolutionary army prepares itself to confront and defeat the enemy and its institutions. It works constantly in improving its might. Investigation is one way to do so. This provides intelligence concerning the adversary. Accumulation of its forces is also very important. Another key aspect is the acquisition of skills at warfare through practice.
At first, the work and the actions of the army are meant to support the work of the party. They can also, but less importantly, serve to directly weaken the enemy. At the beginning, the army’s main purpose is to protect the party and also to foster its military capability. Its work and actions must be linked to the vast political campaigns undertaken by the party. The army participates in those campaigns through armed propaganda actions carefully chosen. Such actions are followed up by agitation and propaganda lead by the party.
By assuring its secrecy, the revolutionary army must find a way to link itself to the masses from the very beginning of its existence. It will support the movement of the masses that will have been developed under the party’s leadership, against the discipline imposed by the bourgeois state. This is the only way the army will be able to gain the recognition of the masses and to deeply link itself to them and rely on their support.
Even if the actions of the revolutionary army are of limited reach, they will demonstrate to the masses that it is possible to confront the bourgeoisie and deal blows to it. They will show the masses the way to go. They will show them that there exists a well organized force, earnest in taking up action against the enemy.
13. Unleash the fury of the masses as a mighty force for the revolution
“To be good at translating the Party’s policy into action of the masses, to be good at getting not only the leading cadres but also the broad masses to understand and master every movement and every struggle we launch—this is an art of Marxist-Leninist leadership. It is also the dividing line that determines whether or not we make mistakes in our work.”
If the leadership and the organization of the minority that forms the vanguard—i.e. of the party—are a sine qua non condition for the development and the victory of the revolution, those are however impossible without the involvement of the masses. The masses are the makers of history. The socialist revolution that will come to terms with capitalism and that will set the foundations of a communist society will never be possible if only a few partake in this endeavour, despite the degree of burning enthusiasm or total devotion.
The party leads, guides and suggests, but it is the masses that transform its political line into a concrete material force. They are the only ones that can truly transform social relations, i.e. incarnate the theory of revolution, and make it something feasible and durable. They made revolution possible in Russia. They thwarted the aspirations of the new bourgeoisie and delayed the restoration of capitalism in China. They also beat U.S. imperialism in Vietnam, even though the Yankees had more sophisticated armaments.
Currently in Canada, the proletarian masses, which make up the vast majority of the population, resist exploitation as much as they can. They do this without having the level of consciousness needed to lead a revolutionary struggle that would deal severe blows to the bourgeoisie. Furthermore, most of them are under the tutelage of a whole slew of state-sponsored organizations. These organizations all too often oppose or control any nascent movement of rebellion that may pop up. They steer this revolt away from its true target, the bourgeoisie. This acts as a deterrent to the development of any true revolutionary activity.
The Revolutionary Communist Party is constantly attempting to link itself to the masses. It uses methods of inquiry, not only to gain a better understanding of their situation, but to be able to grasp their spirit. It collects ideas from the masses. Then, it sorts the best ones out and articulates them in the most coherent fashion. Always in close relationship to the masses, the party strives to give as wide a circulation as possible to its activities of agitation and propaganda. It always relies on the masses for carrying out its activities.
Fighting for just claims
The Third International pointed out that: “All the agitation, propaganda and political work of the Communist Parties must start from the understanding that no long-term improvement in the position of the proletariat is possible under capitalism and that only the overthrow of the bourgeoisie and the destruction of capitalist states will make possible the transformation of working-class living conditions […].This does not mean, however, that the proletariat has to renounce the fight for its immediate practical demands until after it has established its dictatorship.” (Resolution of the Third Congress of the Communist International, On Tactics)
Through the policy that was further developed by the Communist International, we see that in the daily activities, we must undertake each need of the masses as the starting point for revolutionary struggles. These struggles as a whole will constitute the powerful trend of socialist revolution. Contrary to the reformists and the petit-bourgeois pacifists, the communists do not put forward any “minimum programme” that would serve to strengthen and improve the shaky foundations of capitalism. “The Communists’ main aim is to destroy the capitalist system.” But to fulfill this task, the communists put forward claims, whose achievement would constitute an immediate and urgent need for the proletariat, “regardless of whether they are compatible with the continuation of the capitalist system”. (Ibid.) What matters is that theses claims answer the vital needs of the broad proletarian masses.
That being said, we should never forget that there is a two-sided character to any gain we ripped of from the bourgeoisie. We must be aware that these gains, although being partial victories for the proletariat against the class enemy, are also a way for this same enemy to keep social peace in order to pursue the exploitation of the workers. In fact, the bourgeoisie uses such claims coming from specific sectors to divide the proletariat. Communists, on the contrary, take part in immediate struggles to link the whole proletariat against the bourgeoisie. That is possible only if we don’t lose sight of the final goal: the seizure of power as a step towards communism.
While taking active part in the immediate struggles of the proletariat, the Revolutionary Communist Party must be able to bind them to the general and long-term struggle. It must educate the masses in the revolutionary spirit of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism; it must unceasingly raise their political consciousness and assume the leadership of the proletarian revolution. Our first duty is not to run from a strike/action to another; but rather to link together and mobilize the proletariat and its allies in the masses and oppressed nations, against our main enemy—the Canadian bourgeoisie. That means that the communists must work firstly to build the highest form of proletarian organization—the Revolutionary Communist Party; and to develop the strategy and tactics that will make the revolution side to get stronger. In order to achieve this, the bourgeoisie must be isolated. This is why we must struggle for the right claims; those that include the entire proletariat, and also other social layers like the petit-bourgeois class as well as the oppressed nations of the country.
The work of the party in this regard is aimed at spurring the masses into revolutionary action. The party has no pretence of substituting itself for the masses. It doesn’t imagine or invent claims or demands any different than the ones the masses are asking for by themselves (when they are in a position to raise their demands without the interference of state servants). But at the same time, the party does not lag behind the masses either. It seizes upon the best of their demands and forms them into a coherent and systematic whole. The claims that the party puts first are the ones which contribute to defending the most exploited proletarians and to unmasking and isolating the bourgeois state so as to create a clear dividing line between both sides—that of the proletariat and that of the bourgeoisie.
Among other things, the Revolutionary Communist Party fights for:
• Recognition of the equality of the nations and the right to self-determination, including the right of secession.
• The abolition of the Canadian Army and the police force and their replacement by the general armament of the people. The immediate repatriation of the Canadian armed forces currently abroad. The expulsion of all the armed forces and all the foreign repressive forces from the Canadian territory.
• The abolition of the judicial authorities, being replaced by a system of justice under people’s control. The abrogation of all the anti-people rules and regulations.
• The release of all the anti-capitalist prisoners. A real reintegration in the civil life for the others prisoners which belong to the masses.
• Total and complete equality for the women, in particular for the women of the proletariat and of the masses. Access with no discrimination to the economic, political and cultural life.
• The breach of all the international treaties supporting imperialism (NAFTA, FTAA), the immediate withdrawal from NATO, WTO and all the organizations created with the aim of supporting the imperialist aggression and sacking.
• Political and civil liberties for the proletariat and the masses, including the free use of the material means they need to exercise that freedom (buildings, means of transportation and communication, information, etc). Freedom of meeting, of organization, of propaganda, of strike; freedom of access to information and education. All forms of oppression based on racial, sexual and cultural discrimination must be prohibited. Respect of collective and personal properties of the proletarians and of the masses. Inviolability of the person and residence.
• The effective right for each adult to exert a work socially recognized. The right for each person to have worthy living conditions and a social life in accordance with it. Social security, welfare and free education for all. The granting to poor families of decent housing, food, clothing at the State’s charges. The abolition of debts contracted by the poor proletariat and the masses.
• Working time reduction, general improvement of the working conditions.
• The free use of all the services and of all the public networks: power, telephone, water, gas, mail, transportation, railroads, roads, etc.
• Absolute equality of all the political and civil rights for all the migrant workers.
Ideological leadership and revolutionary action
Spurring the masses into revolutionary action also consists of seeking to gain leadership of their struggles. This leadership is first and foremost political and ideological leadership and can not be based on organizational manoeuvres.
All too often, communists in Canada have curtailed their work in vying for leadership of mass organizations, especially of the unions, independently of their real influence among the broad masses. Sometimes they even left unquestioned the role really played by those organizations within the class struggle.
The role of the party is to help the broad masses in assuming leadership of their own struggle. By doing so, the masses will also learn to assume leadership of the whole of society. In regard to mass organizations that are not under the full tutelage of the state, the party must wage fierce struggle to extend workers democracy within those organizations, to crush the bourgeois line, to help the proletarian line to triumph and at some point to gain control of them. In regard to the organizations that are under total tutelage of the state, the party must help the masses to liquidate these organizations.
Every step of the way, the party must assist the masses in endowing themselves with genuine proletarian organizations, completely self-sufficient and independent from the state and its “civil network.” These new organizations that will have to be created from scratch in many cases—including women and youth organizations—will fully be part of the revolutionary struggle. Because these organizations will be radically different from those in today’s society that are attached to the state apparatus, they will take on different forms that are unknown till now in Canada. The party will call for the establishment of Soviets, i.e. of worker councils, where the masses will be able to express and organize themselves on the basis of their own class interests. All those organizations will form a large network around the party and the revolutionary army and will constitute the embryo of the new socialist power.
It is in the name of these new organizations, authentically proletarian, in which they will have learned to defend themselves, to engage in battle against the enemy but mostly—and with help from the party—to assume leadership of society, that the masses will then rise. They will be ready for any sacrifice to defend their organizations, as well as the vast network built around the party. They will do this while bearing arms, as soon as they understand that the bourgeoisie will be endeavouring to destroy them.
14. Make a step towards proletarian revolution!
As mentioned earlier, the Canadian proletariat still has a very young history, much younger than the international proletariat. Even at the international level, our class only fired the very first bullets of the struggle against the bourgeoisie in order to build and rule a new society. Even though the proletariat did achieve a lot, the basics are still to be done, above all, to destroy the old capitalist mode of production and make it disappear forever from the face of the earth.
There is a revival of the revolutionary struggle and since it is based on the achievements of past struggles, it is stronger than ever. When the big NATO leaders predicted two years ago that “the first 30 years of the 21st century will be the period of revolutionary uprisings,” they were confessing how much they still fear the spectre of communism and of revolution from the oppressed masses.
Here in Canada, the task of making the communist project a reality and of building around it a real power dedicated to freeing the exploited masses belongs to the revolutionary proletarians. It belongs to all who suffer from capitalist exploitation and who want to put an end to it.
By rallying the vanguard who are ready to fight to enforce real change on the bourgeoisie; by forming solid cores in all the big cities across the country; by building the revolutionary communist party that we need in order to guide and lead our struggle; by supporting the creation of a red army in the heat of the fight against the Canadian bourgeoisie; by spreading communist action among the masses: then, we will contribute in an invaluable manner to the rebuilding of the international communist movement and to the revival of revolutionary struggles that will shake the old world.
As it was said in the Communist Manifesto, 150 years ago: “Let the ruling classes tremble at a communist revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win.”
So now, bourgeois of all countries, stand in fear of the proletariat! Your reign has become a short term victory. Because the future belongs to the proletariat.
Long live the Revolutionary Communist Party!
Forward to proletarian revolution!