Statement by the Joint Committee: East Indian Defence Committee West Indian People’s Organization Canadian People’s (Citizens and Residents) Defence Committee issued November 6, 1977, in Toronto
In the past few months, there have been an increasing number of racist attacks on the immigrant communities, especially the East Indian and West Indian people in Toronto. A sense of outrage at these cowardly attacks has become very widespread, and a vigorous movement is developing in opposition to racist attacks. Many concerned people are seriously looking into the causes of, as well as the solutions to, this urgent problem.
The Joint Committee declares that the main enemy, the main culprit responsible for racist attacks, is the Canadian state and governments at various levels. The state in this country is the state of the rich minority. It is the big money-bags who are to blame for racist attacks on the people. Hence, the struggle against racist attacks must be directed against their state.
The immigrant communities cannot depend on the state of the rich for salvation from racist attacks, because it is the state which is organizing these attacks in the first place. There can be no cure from the gods of plague. The only solution for the communities under attack is to defend themselves, to keep the initiative in their own hands and vigorously fight against all forms of racist attacks.
Certain individuals are saying that the Canadian people themselves are racists and that government “inaction” is to blame for the increasing number of racist attacks. They are telling the immigrant communities to put pressure on the government to “do something” about racism in Canada. These people are wrong. The immigrant communities must not follow this path of conciliation with the enemy. It can only lead to more racist attacks.
Actual life experience of the immigrant communities in Canada has taught us that all forms of racist attacks are organized by the state.
Physical attacks by racist individuals against people from Asia, Africa, the West Indies and other parts of Latin America, are directly phoned the police for help, but usually the police either don’t show up at all, or else they show up to harass the victims and let the racists go free. The rare occasions when the police respond quickly are when the people fight back and punish the racists on the spot; then the cops come running to arrest the immigrants for “assault”, “possessing dangerous weapons”, etc. In addition, there are numerous documented cases where the police themselves beat up the people, lay false charges, etc.
The state of the rich also organizes fascist gangs such as the Western Guard to attack the immigrant communities. Not only have the Metro Toronto police and the courts encouraged these gangs to terrorize the people through racist attacks, but the rich minority and its state have provided public platforms such as TV talk shows, the hearings on the “Green Paper” on immigration, etc. for their Hitlerite propaganda. The cops have tried on many occasions to protect the racists from the wrath of the people. In spite of this, the nazis have received many thrashings in this city.
State-organized racist attacks also take the form of propaganda, policy and legislation against the immigrant communities. From the very beginning Canadian immigration policy has been racist; certain immigrant communities have always been singled out for the most severe persecution and exploitation. Faced with a deepening economic crisis, the state of the rich is stepping up this activity. The “Green Paper” on immigration in 1975 was a well-financed racist and fascist propaganda campaign against immigrants from Asia, Africa, the West Indies and other parts of Latin America. It was followed by the anti-immigrant Bill C-24 which was passed recently in order to terrorize the immigrant communities and force them to submit to the most severe exploitation and repression without any resistance. It is a long-established state policy to use immigration officers and the criminal RCMP to harass the immigrant communities, raiding the homes of West Indian and East Indian workers in search of “illegal” immigrants, etc.
Given all of these facts, does it follow that the same police, RCMP, immigration officials and other state agencies are going to take some “action” against racist attacks? No! There is no way that justice for the people can be wrung out of a bunch of criminals like these. The government, news media and capitalist politicians who for years have been blaming immigrants for the economic crisis and whipping up racist hysteria are not suddenly going to change their nature, issue an apology to the immigrant communities, and then run all the racists out of their institutions. The worst racists are right at the top giving the orders.
We have to fight tooth and nail against all forms of racist attacks on the basis of our own strength. Self-Defence Is the Only Way! There is only one struggle against state-organized racist attacks.
Those individuals who blame government “inaction” and say that racist attacks are not organized by the state, those who blame unemployed workers instead of the rich, are not part of the struggle against racist attacks. They are being organized by the state to say these things and fool the people. Any demonstration which they may organize can only be a provocation against the anti-racist struggle and the leadership of the Joint Committee in that struggle.
It is a grave error to regard racist attacks as arising from the ranks of the people. There are individuals who participate in racist attacks, and of course they must be fought tit-for-tat. Any person who is attacked by a racist should fight back vigorously without any hesitation, no matter who the attacker maybe. But the main struggle must not be restricted to the immediate physical attacks. The immigrant communities must look into these matters more deeply to discover who is really behind the racist attacks, and then direct their struggle at the source.
It is none other than the rich minority which is to blame for racist attacks. Racism is the ideology of the rich, and racism is the policy of the state of the rich. The foreign imperialists, mainly those from the U.S., and the big money-bags of Canada own and control nearly everything in this country. The ideas of the rich are taught in the schools and broadcast by their mass media. They control the police and the windbag politicians.
The rich are the exploiters, a class of idle parasites who live off the toil and sweat of the workers. These big money-bags have only one interest: profits, and not just any kind of profits, but maximum profits. Hence, the rich use racism to wring maximum profits out of their employees and to make it easier to rule over the people. They use racism to single out certain sections of the people, the immigrant communities, for the worst kind of exploitation and to incite other sections of the people to attack the immigrants. This is the standard tactic of all minorities with state power: divide and rule.
The reason that immigrants from Asia, Africa, the West Indies and other parts of Latin America come to Canada in the first place is because their homelands are dominated by imperialism and social-imperialism. The big money-bags use these countries as a source of raw materials and cheap labour and as markets for dumping their manufactured goods. Hand-in-hand with the sellout ruling regimes of the neo-colonial countries, the imperialists subject the people to barbaric repression and cut them off from all possibilities of development and a decent life. Consequently, many people come to Canada seeking employment and a better life.
Once here, they find out that the bosses in Canada are these same imperialists and that the state has a thoroughly racist policy towards the immigrants.
For the immigrant communities there is no way out but to fight. They must fight the physical racist attacks through self-defence, and they must also unite their communities to oppose the state of the rich. Neither fighting racist individuals without organizing against the state, nor opposing the state without resisting physical attacks can solve the problems of the immigrant communities. All forms of state-organized racist attacks must be vigorously opposed through unity in action.
The issue in Canada is not one of “integration” or of teaching children that it’s not nice to call people names. These false solutions are based on the lie that the Canadian people are naturally racist. Neither is it a matter of how many “ethnics” there are on the police force, on some “human rights” commission, on the city councils, or in the boardrooms of the big monopolies. Every immigrant community has its traitors, and the state recruits precisely these traitors to carry out the criminal persecution of their own people.
The issue is opposing state-organized racist attacks in practice. Who are the defenders and who are the traitors of the immigrant communities can be judged by the everyday practice of individuals and groups. Are they organizing their communities against all forms of racist attacks, or are they trying to split the communities and preaching reliance on the state for a solution? Attacks on immigrants exist in the concrete; they are not hidden or subtle. Likewise, who is upholding the honour and dignity of the immigrant communities is no mystery.
Since its founding on November 24, 1973, the East Indian Defence Committee has been leading the struggle against state-organized racist attacks on the East Indian community. Although the West Indian People’s Organization has been in existence only since January of 1977, it is upholding the same line of self-defence. Furthermore, the Canadian People’s (Citizens and Residents) Defence Committee, founded, May 4, 1977, is mobilizing a broad section of the Canadian people to join the anti-racist struggle against the state of the rich.
In order to advance this struggle, our three organizations formed the Joint Committee on July 26 of this year. Already we have organized four militant demonstrations and six public meetings, and our supporters from coast to coast have passed out several hundred thousand leaflets opposing the anti-immigrant Bill C-24 and other state-organized racist attacks. We are preparing to wage this struggle on a long-term basis. Racism is not going to vanish in a day or even in a decade. Racist ideas are going to persist as long as the Canadian state remains the state of the rich and the exploiters have power. But by organizing our communities well and uniting the immigrants with the rest of the Canadian people in action against the common enemy, we can bring about a situation where racist attacks can be successfully repulsed.
The line of self-defence has taken deep roots in the East Indian and West Indian communities, and this has the Canadian state in a panic. A number of its agents are slandering the EIDC, the defence organization of the East Indian community, as a group of “vigilantes” and “mindless militants”.
The Joint Committee, after a life of only three and a half months, has become the focus of the wrath of almost every capitalist newspaper and TV station in the area. Our posters announcing today’s demonstration and rally have been clawed up and spat upon by the racists, including one alderman who was caught tearing them down in Rosedale. But the masses of ordinary people have warmly supported and defended our work against state attacks.
We are honoured to be attacked by our enemies in this way. They cannot deal with our line directly, so they are reduced to telling lies about our position, saying that we are planning to attack the people on November 6. The media have been trying to scare people away from this demonstration by saying that they expect some “violence” today, etc. It is no accident that those who are slandering us are also wailing about government “inaction” and saying that the people are racist.
But we will never be scared off by these hyenas. Neither will we be diverted from the target of our struggle – the Canadian state.
The Joint Committee of EIDC, WIPO and CPDC calls upon the people of Toronto to reject all of the phoney “solutions” promoted by the state. The experience of our communities over the years in dealing with various agencies of the state – the police, courts, etc. – is that their “solutions” are no solutions at all for the people. These “solutions” are meant to disarm the people and take the initiative out of our hands, leaving us unprepared and sitting with folded arms while the state-organized racist attacks escalate. The only ,solution is the path of self-defence, the path of relying on our own strength and in this way defending the honour and dignity of our communities and firmly repulsing the racist attacks. We declare that racist attacks will never end unless the masses of the people defend themselves. They must courageously defend themselves against all forms of state-organized racist attacks.
BLAME THE RICH AND NOT THE PEOPLE FOR RACIST ATTACKS!
SELF-DEFENCE IS THE ONLY WAY!
DOWN WITH STATE-ORGANIZED RACIST ATTACKS!
THE CANADIAN STATE IS RACIST!