The decay of capitalism is making itself felt more sharply every day. This has led to a growing radicalization of workers and youth with millions rejecting the system. According to a recent poll, one million Canadian youth want communism. Fightback, the Canadian section of the International Marxist Tendency has launched a campaign titled “Are you a Communist” with the aim of organizing this growing layer of communists in Canada. As part of this campaign, we are opening the pages of our magazine to ask the question: why are you a communist?
If you are one of these hundreds of thousands of communists in Canada and would like to explain to our readers why you are a communist, you can make a submission of no longer than 500 words to our editorial board at email@example.com.
Growing up, I was always sympathetic to communism. I believed in a world without exploiters and exploited. But I always heard the usual response, that “Communism works in theory but not in practice.” Although I didn’t have a rebuttal at the time, that explanation never sat right with me.
Personal experiences also played a role. When I was a child, the lights would sometimes be out when we got home. The power company had disconnected our electricity due to non-payment, in spite of the fact that both my parents worked full time. From similar experiences, I knew inside that there was something wrong with the world.
When I turned 18, I went to university, looking for answers about how to change the world and where I fit in in that struggle. What I encountered was a lot of contradictory ideas, ideas which were impotent at best. The main message was that there are problems, but that those problems were mainly the fault of the working class, which they claimed was backward and powerless. The conclusion was that the most we can do is tinker with the system around the edges. Again, something about this message didn’t feel right, but I wasn’t sure what to do about it.
Then, in 2015, while I was a TA, my union went on strike for a living wage and better conditions. This was the first time that I saw first-hand that we could actually fight for change, that we could try to put our ideas for a better world, for equality and justice, into action. While I wasn’t yet a full communist, feeling the collective strength of the working class–our collective strength– was a transformative experience for me.
Over the next few years, observing the deepening crises of the world—climate change, environmental destruction, economic crisis, racism, sexism, homophobia—further radicalized me and built up a burning desire for change. I came to realize that all of these ills had a common source, and that they couldn’t be combatted separately. I concluded that what didn’t work in practice was capitalism and that communism is the only system that can provide a future—not only for us as individuals, but for the human race and the planet.
The events in Charlottesville at the so-called Unite the Right Rally in 2017, where KKK and neonazis marched openly and spewed their vile ideology, was the last straw that forced me to take action. Coming from a mixed-race background, I was horrified to see what I thought was something from the distant past. I decided then that I couldn’t be a lone wolf calling for revolution, but that I needed to get organized. I saw the hammer and sickle coming back online on Facebook, and saw people organizing to fight back against the far right. In particular, I saw arguments and articles by Fightback. I realized that the Marxists had come to similar conclusions as I had, that they had an inspiring and insightful analysis, were determined to change the world, and they seemed to have the best ideas to do so. I decided this was where I needed to devote all my energies and, ultimately, my life.