Communist Party of Canada 2007 Congress: A Trotskyist analysis for Young Communist League members Print E-mail
Written by Julian Benson   
Thursday, 25 January 2007 08:10
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Therefore, in the spirit of open and honest discussion, Fightback has prepared a response to the CPC’s discussion documents. It is with an eye towards educating the young Communists in the traditions of genuine Marxism-Leninism that Fightback has prepared this analysis. We sincerely hope that after reading this that comrades seek out the classics of Marxism for themselves, the works of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky, and extend their knowledge of genuine Bolshevism.

The CPC and Imperialism

In the CPC’s own party programme, it admits that, “Canada is an imperialist country – a highly developed monopoly capitalist state.” As we know from Lenin’s work, Imperialism is the highest stage of capitalism. Imperialism concentrates the ownership of the means of production in a tiny elite and interweaves capital with the machinery of the state. Imperialism is capitalism in its most reactionary epoch; no longer capable of developing the means of production, it creates groups of imperialist nations that must wage constant war with each other over the raw resources of the backward parts of the world. There is only one road out of the imperialist haze: the socialist revolution. To quote Lenin directly, “Imperialism is the highest stage of development of capitalism. Capital in the advanced countries has outgrown the boundaries of national states. It has established monopoly in place of competition, thus creating all the objective prerequisites for the achievement of socialism. Hence, in Western Europe and in the United States of America, the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat for the overthrow of the capitalist governments, for the expropriation of the bourgeoisie, is on the order of the day.” Now let us compare Lenin’s ideas to those of the leaders of the CPC.

While stating the Canada is an imperialist country, as indeed it is, the CPC does not believe that socialist revolution is the immediate cure. They define Canadian imperialism as a new phenomenon, “One characteristic of the national bourgeoisie in most imperialist countries is the tendency to gain economic or military advantage for their own interests, while acting in transient alliances to exploit the entire globe. Those sections of the ruling class around Harper and the Conservatives do not even pursue this course. They seek to enrich themselves through servility to U.S. imperialism, delivering the peoples of Canada, our resources and our future generations, to the agenda of exploitation, militarism and environmental destruction which mark imperialism in its advanced stage.” The CPC leaders are attempting to portray Canadian imperialism as being no longer controlled by Canadian capitalism, but rather wholly in the command of the United States. This is false; while Canadian and US capitalist interests do intertwine quite heavily due to large cross-investment between the bourgeoisie of either nation, there is no indication that Canadian capitalists aren’t cutting their own slice out of the world.

Canadian banks, most specifically Scotia Bank, are one of the largest investors in the Haitian economy. The Canadian construction giant, SNC-Lavalin International Inc, won the majority of reconstruction contracts to rebuild Haiti after the UN-backed coup led by Canada, the USA, and France in 2004. Canadian troops were sent there to protect Canadian investments. Likewise, in Afghanistan, the Canadian oil corporation, EnCana, has millions invested in the Trans-Afghan pipeline running from the Caspian Sea, through the Kandahar region, and down through Pakistan. Canadian troops form the bulk of the protection for this investment.

With the incorrect belief that Canada is simply a US-controlled imperialist country, or an imperialist-colony (sic), the leaders of the CPC have decided what is needed is “sovereignty”, not a socialist revolution. Even though they admit that Canada is an imperialist nation and that monopoly capital is the order of the day, the CPC leaders have invented a new theory which allows them to sidestep the teachings of Marxism and hide their heads in the sand. To quote directly,

“In Canada, the dominance of Canadian transnationals and the trend of antidemocratic internationalization underlies a fundamental shift in the political direction of the Canadian state: the shift from National Policy protectionism and bourgeois national development strategy to continental “free trade”, in particular, and neoliberalism, in general. Though driven by the transnationals, this historic shift was supported overwhelming by the non-transational sectors of the Canadian capitalist class, who do not have a general class political direction independent of the transnationals. Only the working class and some groups of farmers, fishers, and other small proprietors were collectively opposed to free trade and neoliberalism.

“In taking control of commanding heights of the Canadian economy and in initiating a process of the democratization of the state and economic power, the anti-transnational alliance would turn the general direction of the Canadian economy and state away from neoliberalism and imperialism towards socialism. This anti-transnational period would not be socialism, because medium and small-scale capitalist ownership and capitalist commodity money relations would still exist widely as, for a time, would foreign transnational ownership and commerce. But neither would it be to return to an earlier form of national competitive capitalism, nor to establish, beyond the initial transitional period, a form of highly monopolized and centralized state capitalism. Rather it would be a transition period, not a stable condition or a final result, in which the political process itself, particularly the hostile, antidemocratic activities of capitalist interests, would clarify the necessity of the political leadership of the working class and its allies - and of socialism.”

The leaders of the Communist Party have deduced that because imperialism is such a horrible, reactionary form of capitalism (which it is), the best direction to go is backwards. They use their false pretext that Canada is an imperialist country under the control of the United States and come to the conclusion that the best thing for Canada is to become an imperialist country for its interests. To do this, they propose an “anti-transnational alliance,” in effect a coalition with the petty-bourgeois liberals in order to bring about “sovereignty.” Lenin talked repeatedly of the need for an independent working class party, unbound from the petty-bourgeoisie, even in the most backward countries with a minuscule proletarian class. This is a policy with the leaders of the CPC seem to have thrown out in favour of seeking an unprincipled “popular front” with the “patriotic” bourgeoisie.

Putting aside the fact that an imperialist country, with its own capitalist class, can not be subordinated to the point where the Canadian capitalists would “lose” their class interests; It makes even less sense to say that a country in the epoch of imperialism, that is capitalism’s highest stage, can advance anywhere other than socialism. If Lenin and Trotsky could fight and win a revolution in 1917, in a country whose means of production were still mostly mired in a pre-capitalist society, then there is not excuse for a non-revolutionary policy in a country, like Canada, that is in capitalism’s highest stage of development.

The CPC and the UN

The class collaborationist policies of the leaders of the CPC extend well past the boarders of Canada. They have a fully counter-revolutionary view of internationalism as well. Lenin referred to the League of Nations, the precursor to the United Nations, as a “thief’s kitchen.” Swedish Communist leader and co-founder of the Comintern, Fredrik Ström, called it the “imperialist international.” The real power in the United Nations rests squarely with the five permanent members of the security council. Britain, France, Russia, China and the United State are some of the worst imperialist powers on the planet, and yet they hold massive sway over the international role of the UN. The CPC’s solution is to “democratize” the United Nations.

“With the support of the other leading imperialist states, the U.S. arrogantly dismisses and violates the principles of the UN Charter, the Geneva Convention and other established international law. It seeks to transform the role of the UN, especially the Security Council, into a hostage to the pressures and blackmail by the world’s main military powers. This again raises the urgent need for a real democratization of the UN, free from the imperialist chains that bind it, as part of the struggle for a new policy of international relations among sovereign and equal countries based upon the principle of non-interference and steered towards the dissolution of military blocs.” (CPC 2007 Perspectives)

The CPC leaders even go so far as to endorse the UN sanctioned elections as a solution to the situation in Iraq, a policy which only works towards legitimizing the imperialist puppet government of the country. However, it is not just the five imperialist powers that are the problem. The governments of the vast majority of the world are in the hands of the bourgeoisie. Why would taking the masters of capitalism from all over the world, and placing them in the same room together, suddenly make them a beacon of internationalism and world peace? The reality is that the UN is simply a body for the settling of the common petty affairs of the world’s bourgeoisie. It is incapable of countering the role of imperialism and, in fact, actually serves often as a rubber stamp for the major powers to legitimize their actions around the globe. A real revolutionary policy would be no support for the UN, but rather, working towards creating a revolutionary working-class international in the fashion of Lenin’s Third International, before it was deformed and eventually disbanded by Stalin. This is a real proletarian international policy.

The CPC and the Labour Movement

Equally confused is the CPC’s position towards the labour movement. In the discussion document, one misguided member states, “The ‘break’ with Canada’s bourgeois labour party (the NDP) by the Hargrove forces in the last federal election was a correct assessment of the political forces at the time, correct identification of the main danger (the Harper Conservatives) facing the membership of the CAW and Canadian Workers, and a forward step in more independent political activity of labour.”

This horribly misreads the situation in regard to the labour bureaucracy of the CAW. Buzz Hargrove and his administration have maintained their position in the CAW with horribly anti-democratic, bureaucratic manoeuvring. During the 2006 CAW leadership race, agents of the Hargrove administration threatened locals that were supporting Hargrove’s left-wing opponent, Willie Lambert, with disbandment. Hargrove represents what Lenin called “the labour aristocracy.” His break with the NDP, and his collaborationist support for the Martin Liberals goes directly against the interests of the working class. Lenin repeatedly stated that the working class must have an independent voice and openly condemned the Mensheviks for their support for the bourgeois liberals after the February revolution. If Lenin would not give support to the liberals during a revolution, why does the CPC consider it a “correct identification” to support the liberals during a simple election? In reality, the CAW split represents an opportunist move by the leaders of the CAW to distance themselves from Canada’s workers’ party and the rest of organized labour in order to endear themselves to the ruling class, just so that they might earn a few scraps from the bosses’ table. (Also see Fightback's "Interview with Willie Lambert")

The CPC and the USSR

Finally, we come to an historical question of the utmost importance to Marxists: what was the USSR and why did it fall? Trotsky predicted the collapse of the Soviet Union back in 1936 in his book, The Revolution Betrayed. In it, he points out the countless departures from Marxism-Leninism that the Stalinist bureaucracy took in pursuit of its own power and position. For the CPC leaders, however, the Soviet Union remained a flawless bastion of socialism right up until 1991. The collapse of the USSR threw the old Stalinist parties into turmoil. In Canada, the majority of the CPC, including its leadership at that point, were so disjointed that they renounced Marxism and formed the reformist Cecil-Ross Society. What remained of the CPC has admitted, now, that there were deviations from Marxism in the USSR, but has never honestly reconsidered the positions it has held for sixty years, nor has it opened itself up to the ideas of Trotsky who had explained the deviations of the Comintern decades ago.

In the 2nd CPC discussion document released on 29th November, one entry, written by Kimball Cariou of Vancouver, emphasises the lack of historical perspective the current CPC leaders have. The entry’s very title assumes an anti-dialectical character, “Looking Forward, Not Backward or Inward,” as if Marxism has nothing to do with historical analysis and self criticism. The entry states, “In my view, those who want to ‘prove’ our democratic credentials by distancing ourselves from the experience of socialism, underestimate the ability of workers to grasp the complexity of the struggle against imperialism. For example, the call to retroactively condemn the Berlin Wall as ‘undemocratic,’ in effect, means that socialism should have surrendered post-war Germany to imperialism rather than take action to prevent destabilization of the GDR.”

Clearly still trapped in a malaise of Stalinist historical revisionism, the CPC theoreticians can’t see the forest for the trees. The Berlin Wall was a concrete manifestation of the disastrous policy of “socialism in one country,” which is a complete abandonment of Marxist principles and a root cause for the degeneration and downfall of the Soviet Union. The Stalinist leadership of the eastern bloc, rather than follow a revolutionary foreign policy, walled themselves away behind their iron curtain and sought a peaceful co-existence with the imperialists, all the while usurping real political control away from the Soviet people in order to enrich themselves, a small minority of party insiders. It is precisely the counter-revolutionary role played by the Soviet bureaucracy that led to the destruction of the Soviet Union.

But instead of seeking to learn the lessons from the past, as Marxism demands, the CPC party line is to ignore the past. The entry goes on, “Frankly, most progressive-minded workers and young people are much less interested in redissecting [sic] the experience of the USSR than in the hard struggle to roll back the capitalist attack on the working class, defeat the warmongers, and save the global environment.” In an age immediately following the destruction of the USSR, and on the cusp of an upsurge of new revolutionary potential, what could be more vital to the world revolutionary movement than examining the failures and mistakes of Stalinism so as not to repeat them in the future? And yet comrade Cariou wants us to ignore history! This deviation from Marxism would be intolerable in a true revolutionary party. The only way to advance the cause of socialism is with open and honest analysis and self-criticism of the mistakes made in the past. The truth is the Soviet Union collapsed under its own bureaucratic weight; why, then, does the CPC not revise its policy towards other Stalinist countries so it might work towards truly preserving the revolutions there, instead of following the same beaten path of failure which leads further and further away from genuine Marxism-Leninism?

It is the solemn duty of all Marxists to unconditionally defend the Cuban revolution from the forces of imperialism and capitalist restoration. The threat against the Cuban revolution manifests itself not only in Washington, but also the right-wing inside the Cuban Communist Party. These bureaucrats are the ones responsible for introducing capitalism back into Cuba in the form of privately owned tourist resorts. It is the hopes of these people to follow the lead of the capitalists in the Chinese Communist Party, and use their power over the state apparatus to revert Cuba back to capitalism with themselves as the new bosses. As is daily being shown by the example of Venezuela, the only way to ensure the successful preservation of socialism is to give power to the workers directly. In Lenin’s State and Revolution, he lays down four conditions for a socialist state:

  1. No standing army but the armed people.
  2. The right of recall for all officials.
  3. No state official is to receive a greater salary than a skilled worker.
  4. Rotation of all bureaucratic tasks within the state; when everyone is a bureaucrat, no one is.

If we look at Cuba, we see none of these four conditions are followed. The best way to defend socialism in Cuba is to give power over the state directly to the people and to spread the revolution though a genuine, revolutionary foreign policy. These beliefs are gaining a greater audience in Cuba daily, as they are being pushed forward by an honest, revolutionary left-wing of the Cuban Communist Party.

There will be many “theoreticians” in the CPC that will denounce this analysis as Trotskyite treachery. Such nonsense is wholly untrue. The CPC’s polices are in direct contradiction with the ideals of Bolshevism. We seek no revision, only to guide all honest revolutionaries back onto the path of Marxism that the Stalinists abandoned so long ago. They accuse us of being “anti-communist” but we know how, under their leadership, the greatest tool for the furtherance of man-kind, the Soviet Union, was theoretically bankrupted and driven to collapse. Meanwhile, the Communist Parties of the world uttered not a single critical word until after it was gone. The USSR, if it had had a proper Marxist leadership, could have ushered in a new world of the brotherhood of mankind; instead, it is now gone. But all is not lost. The International Marxist Tendency unites revolutionaries from all over the world to fight in the traditions of Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Trotsky. Only a mass revolutionary international can build the foundations for socialism. The IMT strives to become that international. In Venezuela, our comrades are gaining huge influence and are more and more becoming a focal point for the revolutionary spirit of that country. This is the path that the Canadian working class can walk, but it requires the ideas of genuine Marxism to lead us there. To all honest young Communists who want to fight for a better world, learn the classics of Marxism and fight for a genuine revolutionary policy.

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