Several months have passed since the end of the Second World War. The attempt of German, Italian and Japanese fascism to overrun the world and enslave all peoples – to create a system of world fascism – has been defeated. While the freedom loving people of the whole world contributed to the defeat of the fascist bid for world power, the decisive contribution towards that victory arose from the unparalleled self-sacrifice, heroism and tenacity of the peoples of the world’s first and only Socialist State, the U.S.S.R., at a cost of over 10,000,000 dead. The Socialist Soviet Union has emerged from the war with its prestige and influence tremendously enhanced.
Democratic governments have been established in a whole number of countries, particularly in those countries adjacent to the borders of the U.S.S.R. These governments, in practically every instance, are composed of a coalition of the political parties of the workers, peasants and urban petty bourgeoisie to the exclusion of the political parties of the landlords and the big bourgeoisie.
Events since the coming of peace, however, have shown conclusively that the basic world antagonisms of the pre-war period still remain. What are these antagonisms? They can be enumerated as follows:
(1) The Antagonism between Capital and Labor; between the
capitalist class and the working class, which arises as a result of the
irreconcilability of interests of the two classes resulting from the
contradiction, economic in nature, between socialized production and
capitalist appropriation of the products of industry; i.e., the wealth f society is produced by the joint effort of thousands of workers, by society as a whole, but the wealth produced is not owned by those who produce it but remains the private property of a relative handful of the population, the capitalist class.
(2) The Antagonism Between Capitalism and Socialism; between the capitalist economic and social system in five-sixths of the world and the socialist economic and social system in one-sixth of the world, – the U.S.S.R.
(3) The Antagonism between the Imperialist Powers and the Colonial And Semi-Colonial Countries; whose peoples are exploited, suppressed and denied their national independence by the dominant imperialist countries.
(4) The Antagonism between the Rival Imperialist Powers; which arises as a result of the struggle for markets, for cheap sources of raw material and for colonies.
These four basic world antagonisms have been demonstrated all over the world during the months immediately following the cessation of hostilities and will continue to be demonstrated so long as capitalism exists. Further, as a result of these antagonisms recurring economic crises, unemployment, insecurity, injustices, colonial uprisings and the threat of wars between nations will continue as an inevitable result of the contradictions of capitalism.
Life itself has proven that the idyllic pictures of the post war world painted by Tim Buck and Earl Browder were entirely false. The colonial peoples have not obtained their independence; peoples have not had the right in many countries “to decide their own form of government without outside interference;” the so-called “far-sighted” capitalists have not cooperated with labor to solve the problems of reconstruction; full employment has not materialized; social security and “lasting prosperity” has not been realized; “far reaching democratic progress” remains an empty promise.
Imperialism remains essentially unchanged; its basic characteristic being “reaction all along the line.” American Imperialism has emerged from the war tremendously strengthened and, precisely because of its dominant position, determined to expand its strength and influence at the expense of its much weakened rivals still further.
Canadian Imperialism, also greatly strengthened by the war, because of its interlocking economic and financial interests with American monopoly capital is closely linked with American Imperialism on the one hand, while retaining its economic and political ties with British Imperialism in order to share in the exploitation of the British colonies, on the other. The crushing of German, Italian and Japanese Imperialism and the setback suffered by French Imperialism, places Canada in the position in the immediate post war period at least, of the world’s third imperialist power. All of which goes to demonstrate the correctness of the estimate of the Teheran accord as a diplomatic agreement as made by Duclos, rather than a platform of class peace as Browder maintained, or as an “international class alliance” to be supplemented by “continued National Unity in the post war” as Buck claimed, which means exactly the same thing as Browder advocated – class peace.
Whereas Canadian monopoly capital enters the post war period tremendously strengthened, Canadian Labor enters the post war disunited organizationally and politically and without a program. Ideological confusion is even greater within the ranks of the working class in -many respects than was the case at the conclusion of the First World War twenty-eight years ago. This is due primarily to the complete betrayal of Marxism by the national leadership of the L.P.P., to the teaching of the identity of interests of capital and labor, of advocating Liberal-Labor coalition and of the practice of class collaboration. All of which resulted in subordinating the economic and political interests of the working class to the interests of monopoly capital. The working class finds itself in the position of being without capable political leadership.
In modern society the interests of classes are represented by political parties. Regardless of minor differences, bourgeois political parties always and everywhere represent and serve the interests of the capitalist class. There are only two basic classes: The working class and the capitalist class or as Marx more precisely defined them, bourgeoisie and proletariat.
The so-called middle class or petty bourgeoisie not being a basic class, not being homogeneous, cannot and does not develop political parties capable of consistently representing the interests of the middle class themselves even when such parties happen to form governments and certainly they cannot represent the interests of the working class. Under Capitalism all middle class political parties inevitably are obliged to uphold the system of so-called private enterprise and consequently come under the domination of monopoly capital on most essential questions.
Political leadership can only be provided for the working class through the medium of a strictly independent class party of the working class whose membership and leadership is overwhelmingly drawn from the ranks of the working class itself. Such a party must of necessity be a Marxist Party; a party of Marxism-Leninism, a party of scientific socialism. Marxist-Leninist theory is “the science of the development of society, the science of the working class movement.” Without such a Party, “Free from opportunism, irreconcilable towards compromisers and conciliators, in opposition to the capitalist class and its state power,” the interests of the working class under capitalism cannot be served nor socialism eventually realized. Therefore the first task confronting the Canadian working class is the immediate creation of a genuine Marxist-Leninist political party, a Communist Party, on a national scale.
The constitution of such a party should and must provide that it be an independent class party of the working class. This does not mean that membership in such a party should be denied to members of other classes but it does mean that members of other classes should be accepted only “in so far as they adopt the viewpoint of the proletariat” as Lenin put it; i.e., in so far as they recognize the independent and leading role of the working class in the struggle of all the toiling and exploited population against monopoly capital and as the class historically destined to take political power in alliance with a majority of the farmers, abolish capitalist society, build a socialist society and proceed to put an end to all forms of exploitation of man by man. In order that such a party should be a working class party, it follows that both the membership and the leadership must, in the majority, be working class in content. Such a party must train and develop its own proletarian intellectuals capable of interpreting and applying the science of Marxism-Leninism.
The party constitution must provide for the widest inner party democracy and self criticism. All major questions of policy, when at all possible, must be submitted to a referendum vote of the membership. All questions of policy relating to action affecting the party membership or the working class must be discussed on the basis of draft resolutions and not on the basis of speeches of “leaders” as practised in the L.P.P. Important questions of policy, even though they affect only a section of the membership, should be thoroughly discussed, not only through the medium of delegated conferences but by the entire membership concerned, if at all possible. At all times in arriving at decisions on political and tactical questions the party must be guided by the dictum of Lenin: “Organization is an absurdity without unity of ideas.”
The organizational structure of such a Party must be based on the principle of democratic centralism in fact and not just in words; i.e., the authority of higher bodies must be democratic and not bureaucratic. All officials and higher committees must be subject to recall at any time. The addition of members to existing committees or the appointment of special committees must be carried out by elections and not through co-option. Elections must be carried out by voting for individuals and not for prepared lists or slates of candidates. Candidates for election to higher bodies or official positions must be voted for by means of secret ballot and not by open ballot. The selection of people for training for leadership must be based primarily on their proven devotion, ability and connection with the masses and not on the basis of their ability “to speak well and write well.” Constant application of the principle of self criticism must be encouraged and practised in all party bodies from the highest to the lowest.
While the Party must utilize all forms of organization the basic form of organization must be industrial and not territorial; the “factory nuclei” must be the basis of the Party.
Discipline must be a self imposed conscious discipline and not a mechanical discipline imposed upon the membership by bureaucratic methods. As Lenin defined it, discipline must be “unity of action, freedom of discussion and criticism.” However, “the discussion of controversial questions is permissible only up to the moment that they are decided.” Once a question has been democratically decided, after discussion has run its course, the principle must be “absolute subordination of the minority to the majority.”
This is a fundamental principle of proletarian discipline and of democracy which must be strictly observed. Membership in the Party must be based on the selection of “the most class conscious, most courageous and most far sighted workers.” Such a Party must “differ from the rest of the mass of the workers in that it sees the whole of the historical path of the working class as a whole, and strives at all of the turning points of this path to champion, not individual groups, not individual trades, but the interests of the working class as a whole.” It must become “the organizational-political lever by the aid of which the most progressive section of the working class directs the mass of the proletariat and semi-proletariat along the right path.” (Theses of 2nd Congress of the C.I.)
The Party must have the closest connections with the working people in order not only “to lead the masses” but also “in order to learn from the masses.” A Party, it must be remembered, in order to lead the masses must learn from the masses. Self criticism must be utilized in order that the Party “may learn from its own mistakes” and thus avoid repetition of the same mistakes.
The Party can of necessity be comprised of only a minority of the working class. It must everywhere and at all times be ready and capable of giving leadership to all sections of the people who suffer injustice and oppression. If it is unable to do this then it cannot survive. As Lenin put it:
“A political Party can combine only a minority of the class, in the same way that the really class-conscious workers throughout the whole of capitalist society represent only a minority of the workers. For that reason we are compelled to admit that only a class-conscious minority can guide the vast masses of the workers and get them to follow it... If the minority is really class-conscious, if it succeeds in getting the masses to follow it, if it is able to reply to every question that comes up on the order of the day, then it is in essence, a Party.
“... If the minority is not able to lead the masses, link itself up closely with them, then it is not a party and is good for nothing even if it calls itself a Party.” (Lenin on Organization, p. 38.)
Why is the formation of a new Party based on the above principle necessary at this time? It is necessary because the working class of Canada does not have a Party with a program, tactics and organizational forms and methods arrived at through democratic discussion and criticism and based on the principles formulated by Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin. In a word, the Canadian working class does not have a Marxist Party.
Lenin explained why a new Party is necessary when he stated:
“Organization without ideas is an absurdity which in practise converts the workers into miserable hangers-on of the bourgeoisie in power. Consequently, without the freedom of discussion and criticism, the proletariat does not recognize unity of action. For that reason, intelligent workers must never forget that sometimes serious violations of principles occur, which make the break-off of organizational relations absolutely necessary.” (Ibid., pp. 31-32.)
“Serious violations of principles” have occurred in the supposed “Marxist Party of the Canadian workers,” the Labor Progressive Party, which necessitate a break with that Party and the formation of a new party, as the quotations from the stated policies of the L.P.P. have conclusively proven. In fact the Labor Progressive Party has violated practically every principle which a Marxist Party should follow, as a study of the conclusions drawn in the History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Bolsheviks, published in 1939 and edited by Stalin, shows.
The Conclusion states that the History teaches:
(1) “The history of the Party teaches us, first of all, that the victory of the proletarian revolution, the victory of the dictatorship of the proletariat, is impossible without a revolutionary party of the proletariat, a party free from opportunism, irreconcilable towards compromisers and capitulators, and revolutionary towards the bourgeoisie and its state power.” (History of the CPSU, p. 353.)
As has already been shown, far from being free from opportunism the Labor Progressive Party has been saturated with opportunism, the main advocates of opportunism being the top leaders themselves: “National Unity means unity of everyone in the nation under the banner of democracy.” Sam Carr.
Instead of being irreconcilable towards compromisers the L.P.P. made compromises with the bourgeoisie which constituted a complete betrayal of socialism, a virtue to be emulated. “... We are faced with ’compromise’ not only as a temporary tactical question but as a problem of maintaining national unity (i.e., compromise between classes) for a whole historical epoch,...” John Weir, Editor of the Party paper, The Tribune. (National Affairs Monthly, July, 1944, p. 117.) Weir even went so far as to interpret Confederation as a compromise between two antagonistic classes. The two antagonistic classes, according to him, being the commercial capitalists and the industrial capitalists. To such depths was Marxism perverted in interpreting history in order to justify class collaboration.
Instead of being “revolutionary in its attitude towards the bourgeoisie” the L.P.P. advised:
“State policy after the war as during the war can achieve very great results in making the system work, and it is essential that the working class should support such a policy. But this can only have meaning when understood as an agreement between labor and the decisive section of monopoly capital.” STEWART SMITH.
And as for the Party being “revolutionary in its attitude towards – the state power” we get:
”... To concentrate the main blows of the people against the King Government and the Liberal Party at the present historical moment, would also mean that the struggle to make the King Government enact progressive legislation would be weakened.” TIM BUCK.
Thus the statements of the L.P.P. leadership themselves prove conclusively that the L.P.P. completely violates the attributes of a Marxist Party outlined in Conclusion (1).
(2) “The history of the Party further teaches us that a Party of the working class cannot perform the role of leader of its class, cannot perform the role of organizer and leader of the proletarian revolution, unless it has mastered the advanced theory of the working class movement, the Marxist-Leninist theory.” (History of the CPSU, p. 350.)
As our examination of their statements have shown the L.P.P. leadership not only did not master the theory of Marxism-Leninism themselves but by their organizational policies of preventing any discussion on major questions of policy by the lower bodies until after the policy had been decided on, they prevented the membership from using theory in arriving at policies. And not only that, the study of Marxist-Leninist theory, far from being encouraged, was discouraged. Just as Browder stated: “You will not find the answers in the old books” so Buck argued “Old moth-eaten arguments no longer suffice to meet new conditions.”
The National education department of the L.P.P. consistently refused to supply the provincial committees with study outlines for Marxist classes and maintained each province should prepare their own in spite of the fact the provincial committees could not, in most cases, afford a full time educational director. What few outlines for classes were prepared referred the students to the revisionist writings of Buck and Browder as study material. Attempts of the Provincial Committees to prepare study outlines mainly based on the Marxist-Leninist classics were condemned as “academic” and “ivory tower” methods of studying Marxism-Leninism by the National Leadership. Hence, we see that the L.P.P. leadership not only did not master the theory themselves but revised the theory, discouraged the membership from even studying the classics and substituted their own revisionist writings.
(3) “The history of the Party further teaches us that unless the petty bourgeois parties which are active within the ranks of the working class, and which push backward sections of the working class into the arms of the bourgeoisie are smashed, the victory of the proletarian revolution is impossible.” (Ibid., p. 359).
According to the above conclusion “unity of the working class” is prevented by the fact that a section of the working class follow the bourgeoisie, thus splitting their unity. And further, that the working class are pushed into the arms of the bourgeoisie by the petty bourgeois parties which must therefore be smashed in order to achieve unity of the working class.
According to the L.P.P. however, labor unity means a division of seats between the petty bourgeois C.C.F. Party and the L.P.P. in parliamentary elections. In other words, the L.P.P., in practise, did the very opposite. Instead of winning the working class away from the petty bourgeois parties they tried to unite with these parties, not on the basis of a common proletarian program but merely by means of a saw-off in the division of seats.
And not only that, the L.P.P. leadership, instead of winning the working class away from following the bourgeoisie, themselves pushed them “into the arms of the bourgeoisie” to a far greater extent than even the C.C.F. did. The practical activity and slogans of the L.P.P. conclusively prove so: “Unity of all progressive forces,” “Democratic Front,” “Unity of everyone in the Nation under the banner of Democracy,” “Labor-management-government cooperation,” “Continuing post-war National unity,” “A National Front,” “An agreement between Labor and the decisive section of monopoly capital,” “National unity is the policy by which the class interests of the working class as a whole will be served, by cooperation with the democratic circles of all classes and all sections of the Canadian people including a decisive section of the capitalist class,” “Government representing a partnership of labor with that section of the capitalist class which is willing to support policies based upon the principles enunciated in the joint declaration issued at Teheran,” “A Liberal-Labor Coalition Government.”
Hence, it follows, that the L.P.P. is itself a petty bourgeois, social democratic party which splits the working class by pushing sections “into the arms of the bourgeoisie.”
“The unity of the proletariat in the epoch of social revolution” Lenin says, “can be achieved only by the extreme revolutionary party of Marxism, and only by relentless struggle against all other parties.” (Ibid., p. 359.)
(4) “The history of the Party further teaches us that unless the Party of the working class wages an uncompromising struggle against the opportunists within its own ranks, unless it smashes the capitulators in its own midst, it cannot preserve unity and discipline within its ranks, it cannot perform its role as leader and organizer of the proletarian revolution, nor its role as builder of the new, Socialist society.” (Ibid., p. 359.)
As its entire history shows, the struggle within the L.P.P. was not directed against the opportunists since the top leadership themselves were arch opportunists. On the contrary, the struggle was against all those who opposed their opportunist policies by branding them as “Sectarians,” “Leftists,” “Anarchists,” “Syndicalists,” “Trotskyites,” “Screwballs,” “Degenerates,” and so on, ad nauseam.
Consequently, the discipline within the Party was not, and could not be, a “conscious self-imposed discipline” but a mechanical blind discipline, imposed by bureaucratic methods from the top. And the unity of the Party was not based on “unity of ideas” through ideological conviction but an artificial unity maintained by blind acceptance of policies. Unity of the Party was presented as the main object regardless of whether the policies were right or wrong. In fact to even question the correctness of opportunist policies was denounced “as splitting the unity of the Party” and those who did so were branded as “anti-Party elements.”
The membership were not informed of Lenin’s dictum: “... Without the freedom of discussion and criticism, the proletariat does not recognize unity of action.”
(5) “The history of the Party further teaches us that a Party cannot perform its role as leader of the working class if, carried away by success, it begins to grow conceited, ceases to observe the defects in its work, and fears to acknowledge its mistakes and frankly and honestly to correct them in good time.
“A Party is invincible if it does not fear criticism, if it does not gloss over the mistakes and defects in its work, if it teaches and educates its cadres by drawing the lessons from the mistakes in Party work, and if it shows how to correct its mistakes in time.
“A Party perishes if it conceals its mistakes, if it glosses over sore problems, if it covers up its shortcomings by pretending that all is well, if it is intolerant of criticism and self-criticism, if it gives way to self-complacency and vainglory, if it rests on its laurels.” (Ibid., p. 361.)
A Party cannot perform its role of leader if it fears criticism, glosses over its mistakes, covers them up, does not draw lessons from them and pretends that all is well. And this is precisely what the L.P.P. has done; covered up its mistakes and “pretended that all is well.”
Consequently, there is little wonder that its membership and supporters are deserting it. It could not be otherwise because “a party perishes if it conceals its mistakes.” Being opportunists to the core, however, the L.P.P. leadership had to gloss over and cover up its mistakes or stand exposed and discredited before its own membership. Hence the drastic lengths they were obliged to resort to in order to continue in the leadership; denounce their critics as “drunkards,” “degenerates,” “Trotskyites,” “traitors,” “disruptors,” etc., etc.; themselves lead all discussion on revisionism in order to cover up their betrayal of Marxism; to announce “The Provincial Executive has ruled there is to be no discussion on revisionism at this meeting;” to propose the Party should “root out all tendencies towards” and “reflections of revisionism.”
(6) “Lastly, the history of the Party teaches us that unless it has wide connections with the masses, unless it constantly strengthens these connections, unless it knows how to harken to the voice of the masses and understand their urgent needs, unless it is prepared not only to teach the masses but to learn from the masses, a Party of the working class cannot be a real mass Party capable of leading the working class millions and all the laboring people.” (Ibid., p. 362.)
The leadership of the L.P.P. was ever anxious to “teach the masses,” particularly teaching them “socialism is not an issue,” teaching them “the class interests of the working class as a whole will be served by cooperation with a decisive section of the capitalist class,” that “full employment can be maintained in the post-war,” that a “Liberal-Labor coalition government, with Labor as a full partner in it, would open a new and higher stage of National progress in Canada.”
However, the L.P.P. leaders were quite above learning from the masses. They conceived of themselves as the “leaders” whom the poor ignorant masses must follow. If they could not get their policies accepted this simply meant that they must organize and prepare more fully for a further meeting and win a majority vote for their policies.
They could not understand that a majority vote in a meeting did not mean that they had convinced the masses; they did not understand that bureaucracy was no substitute for democracy; they did not understand that in order to teach the masses they should also “harken to the voice of the masses” in order “to learn from the masses;” they did not understand the dialectical unity of teaching and learning because they were not Marxists but opportunists.
They did not know that:
“A Party perishes if it shuts itself up in its narrow Party shell, if it severs itself from the masses, if it allows itself to be covered with bureaucratic rust.” (Ibid., p. 362.)
A study of organizational principles necessary for a real Marxist workers’ Party as outlined in the History of the CPSU (Bolsheviks) shows that principles in organization are just as important as principles in tactics and program; that unless a working class party has such organizational principles and adheres to them it will perish. Whereas the constitution of a Marxist Party can provide to a large extent protection and observance of organizational principles, the aims and objects of a Party are also questions of basic importance which must be unequivocally stated in the Party program.
A correct program is of decisive importance to a workers’ Party. A political program must outline the aims and objects of a Party. A program should be finally adopted only after the most-thorough going discussion and criticism, and once adopted, should be rigidly adhered to. As is the case with a Party constitution, a Party program deals with questions of principle. Whereas, the non-Marxist, vague, equivocal program of the Labor Progressive Party was adopted after only a few hours’ discussion at a two-day National Convention, the final program of a new Party should be adopted only after a prolonged and thorough discussion extending over a period of weeks or months and involving the entire membership.
In drafting such a program, consideration should be given to the following important questions:
The international character of capitalism in its highest stage. Imperialism – which is a world system of exploitation and oppression of oppressed classes and nations. Consequently the international character of the movement for emancipation from capitalist exploitation and the achievement of socialism should be recognized.
Technological development in the sphere of production, far from resolving the economic, social and political contradictions of Imperialism, serves to further accentuate these contradictions, thus tending to further develop the polarization of great wealth at one pole and abject poverty at the other; to make the recurrence and severity of economic crises due to over-production more prolonged and severe, accompanied by mass unemployment; to increase the rivalry and competition for markets and cheap sources of raw material between rival monopolies and Imperialist states; finally, to intensify all the antagonisms of world society and further develop the objective and subjective conditions necessary for the overthrow of capitalism as the only means of overcoming the antagonisms.
The two following points in connection with the National and Colonial question must be exhaustively studied and a correct Marxian position in the interests of the movement for Socialism formulated:
(a) The Continued Membership of Canada in the British Commonwealth of Nations. The countries which comprise the Commonwealth constitute the self-governing and exploiting states of the British Empire. By continuing the so-called British connection, Canada cannot escape responsibility for the reactionary measures of oppression and suppression practised by the dominant states of the Empire which, during 1945, has resulted in British Empire forces assuming the role of the principle medium of world reaction in preventing millions of colonial peoples from achieving their independence. Armed forces of the British Empire have, during 1945, been used as interventionist troops to prevent the establishment of democratic governments and the achievement of independence in Syria, Greece, Belgium, Egypt, French Indo-China and Java.
The whole history of monopoly capital goes to show that it is not because of patriotic motives that the British connection is maintained by the ruling circles in Canada. The real reason for continuing Canadian membership in the British Commonwealth is for the purpose of enabling Canadian monopoly capital to share with British Imperialism in the super-exploitation of the colonial peoples of the British Empire through the medium of preferential trade agreements and other advantages in trade enjoyed by Commonwealth countries. Certainly it is not for reasons of National defense that the British connection is maintained, as the United States occupies a far more strategic position than Britain in the event there should arise a military threat to Canada. For reasons of geographical proximity and of American financial investments in Canada, the U.S.A. would be, in fact, more interested in preventing any hostile power becoming established on Canadian soil than would British Imperialism. It follows therefore, that Canada’s continued membership in the Commonwealth on the one hand, enables Canadian monopoly capital to share in the exploitation of the colonies, and on the other strengthens British Imperialism in its suppression of the colonial peoples and thereby makes Canada a ”partner in that suppression. The people of Canada as a whole therefore, become a part of the system of suppression and oppression of hundreds of millions of colonial people, which is an unenviable position for any freedom loving people to be placed in.
(b) The Status of French Canada as a Minority Nation Within the Canadian State – the Dominion of Canada. The fact that the people of French Canada suffer from economic, social and cultural inequalities has been amply established. However, the old Communist movement in Canada and the L.P.P. leadership has always advanced the specious argument that the French Canadian people have political equality while at the same time admitting that the economic, social and cultural inequalities are largely due to “government policies.” Lenin placed the responsibility of the working class on the question of the right of nations to secede as follows:
“The proletariat of the oppressing nation cannot confine itself to general hackneyed phrases that may be repeated by any pacifist bourgeois against annexations and for the equal right of nations in general. The proletariat cannot evade the question that is particularly ’unpleasant’ for the bourgeoisie, namely, the question of the frontiers of states that are based on National oppression. The proletariat cannot but fight against the forcible retention of the oppressed nations within the boundaries of a given state, and this is exactly what the struggle for the right of self-determination means. The proletariat must demand the right of political secession for the colonies and for the nation that ’its own’ nation oppresses. Unless it does this, proletarian internationalism will remain a meaningless phrase, mutual confidence and class solidarity between the workers of the oppressing and oppressed nations will be impossible.
“The Socialists of the oppressed Nations, on the other hand, must particularly fight for and maintain complete, absolute unity (also organizational) between the workers of the oppressed nation and the workers of the oppressing nation. Without such unity it will be impossible to maintain an independent proletarian policy and class solidarity with the proletariat of other countries in the face of all the subterfuge, treachery and trickery of the bourgeoisie; for the bourgeoisie of the oppressed nations always converts the slogan of national liberation into a means of deceiving the workers; in internal politics it utilizes these slogans as a means for concluding reactionary agreements with the bourgeoisie of the ruling nation.” (Selected Works, Vol. V, pp. 271-72.)
Lenin not only explained the necessity of the working class of an oppressing nation demanding the right of secession for an oppressed nation, but went further: “... The refusal to advocate the right of self-determination,” he said, “is equal to the worst opportunism.” (Selected Works, Vol. IV, p. 291.)
All talk of equality for a minority nation is nothing more nor less than hypocritical phrase mongering unless the oppressed nation has the right to secede. Without this right it is practically impossible to achieve equality in the economic, social and cultural fields.
For the working class of English speaking Canada the problem of French Canadian equality is not a question of ethical principles, but a question of international proletarian solidarity and of the economic welfare and democratic rights of the workers of English speaking Canada themselves. Thousands of workers in attempts to negotiate agreements for wage increases in various industries have met with the stock reply:
“If the management were to increase wages they would be unable to compete with rival firms who pay much lower wages in French Canada.” So long as French Canadian inequality exists, there exists with it a constant threat to democratic rights and liberties, not only in French Canada, but throughout the Dominion. So long as French Canada has not the right of secession, inequalities will remain, and so long as inequalities remain, French Canada will constitute a base for reaction threatening the democratic rights and liberties of all Canadians. Further: “... The socialist of an oppressing nation, who does not conduct propaganda, both in peacetime and in wartime, in favor of the freedom of secession for the oppressed nations, is not an internationalist, but a chauvinist.” (Lenin’s Selected Works, Vol. V, p. 287.)
Although Canada is considered to be an advanced, democratic country, the fact remains that many medieval remnants of feudalism still remain. This is particularly true in the sphere of racial equality, which is supposed to be a recognized principle in all civilized, democratic countries. Not only do the French Canadians suffer from inequality, but racial discrimination is practised and even encouraged by reactionary circles throughout Canada. This is particularly true of the native Indians, the treatment of whom has been shameful to say the least. No genuine attempt has ever been made to raise their economic, social and cultural level to that of the descendants of the Europeans who despoiled them and robbed them of their best lands.
The same practise of religious, racial and national inequality is true of the treatment meted out to Canadian citizens of Jewish, Negro, Chinese, Japanese and East Indian extractions and to a lesser extent also to citizens of other religious racial or national extractions. So long as this situation is permitted to continue it will be impossible to establish the unity and solidarity of the working class necessary to their class interests. Therefore it is essential that the working class fight for the complete equality of all citizens and not only equality before the law, but actual equality in practise. The practise of religious, racial and national discrimination should be made a criminal offense, not only because of the injustice of it, not only because it tends to keep the working class divided, but also because it constitutes a basic feature of and breeding ground for fascism.
Apologists for Canadian capitalism, such as the L.P.P. leaders, are forever lauding “our” democratic institutions even to the extent of dropping the demand from the L.P.P. election platform for the abolition of the Canadian Senate, the counterpart of the British House of Lords. Actually, the Senate is one of the most autocratic remnants of medieval absolutism, of feudal reaction. It is the very antithesis of democracy. One of the foremost democratic demands of the Canadian working class must be the demand for the abolition of this reactionary institution. In the first place the Senate is not an elective body but one whose members are appointed, the basis of these appointments being property wealth and political service to one or the other of the political parties of the big bourgeoisie. Such a demand is necessary because:
“The proletariat cannot be victorious except through democracy, i.e., by introducing complete democracy and by combining every step of its struggle with democratic demands formulated in the most determined manner.” LENIN. (Ibid., p. 283.)
In deciding whether or not a second house of parliament, of a democratic elective character, should be retained, consideration should be given to the advisability of replacing the present Senate by a House of Nationalities in which representation would be based on National lines and not on per capita representation. Such a House could have equal representation from both French and English Canada.
Although Canada’s native Indians do not constitute a Nation, in the scientific sense of the term, nevertheless they should have representation in such a House, if established. (The native Maoris of New Zealand have direct representation in Parliament as a special section of the population.)
It is difficult to conceive of the French Canadians attaining political equality within the Canadian State unless, in addition to the right of secession, some such equal basis of representation be established.
Canada’s Constitution must be revised in order to guarantee, among others, the following democratic rights and measures:
(a) The sovereignty of the people, the supreme power of the State, must be vested entirely in the people’s representatives and should be elected on the basis of proportional representation and subject to recall by a majority of their electors at any time.
(b) The right of every citizen 18 years of age to elect or to be elected to any representative institution; adequate payment of people’s representatives elected to municipal, provincial and federal government bodies.
(c) Inviolability of person and domicile.
(d) Unhampered freedom of conscience, speech, press, assembly, strikes and organization.
(e) Separation of Church from State, and schools from Church; schools to be absolutely secular.
(f) Free and compulsory general and technical educate for all children of both sexes up to the ages of 18; minimum educational standards to be established.
The abolition of all indirect taxes such as sales tax, excise tax and “luxury taxes.” Inheritance, corporation, excess profit and income taxes to be retained but more steeply graduated with higher exemptions follow incomes.
Nationalization of all banks and of all trusts.
In order to safeguard the health and physical and moral well-being of the working class, the Party should demand:
(a) Limitation of the working day of all wage workers to six hours.
(b) A maximum 30-hour work week without reduction of pay.
(c) Complete prohibition of overtime work.
(d) Time and one half for all night work between the hours of 8 p.m. and 6 a.m., and double time for all Sunday work.
(e) Restriction of the working day of youth under 18 to four hours.
A Marxist Party’s approach to the problem of the agrarian population must be based first of all on recognition of the class divisions in the countryside. The Party will secure a mass base in the countryside, not among farmers generally, but specifically among the agricultural wage workers, semi-proletarians and poor farmers.
The Party of the proletariat is duty bound to defend the interests of the exploited agrarian population, secure a firm base among the classes enumerated above and eventually secure an alliance with the middle stratum of the farmers.
It must be recognized that in Canada at the present time, “opportunism is the main enemy.” One of the main tasks of a Marxist Party, therefore, will be a ruthless struggle against opportunism in all its manifold aspects. Fortunately there are few new forms of opportunism which is as old as the labor movement itself. Since the time of Lasalle, i.e., the “sixties” of the last century, opportunism has been a recognized enemy within the labor movement.
One of the greatest and most comprehensive pieces of Marxist literature, the Program of the Communist International, which was finally formulated only after four years of critical discussion, amendments and improvements, devotes an entire section to the problem of opportunism and the fight against it. This section outlines in detail how “Socialist” reformism, as practised by the Social Democratic Parties, has revised Marxism in all its essential principles. In order that the reader may know what specific forms revisionism has taken, we will quote the entire paragraph, and then, point by point, consider whether similar methods of revision of Marxian theory have been practised in the Canadian Labor movement. Here is the reference:
“In the sphere of theory, social-democracy has utterly and completely betrayed Marxism, having traversed the road from revisionism to complete liberal bourgeois reformism and avowed social-imperialism. It has substituted in place of the Marxian theory of the contradictions of Capitalism the bourgeois theory of its harmonious development; it has pigeon-holed the theory of crisis and of the pauperization of the proletariat; it has turned the flaming and menacing theory of class struggle into prosaic advocacy of class peace; it has exchanged the theory of growing class antagonisms for the petty-bourgeois fairytale about the ’democratization’ of capital; in place of the theory of the inevitability of war under capitalism it has substituted the bourgeois deceit of pacifism and the lying propaganda of ’ultra-imperialism;’ it has exchanged the theory of the revolutionary downfall of capitalism for the counterfeit coinage of ’sound’ capitalism transforming itself peacefully into socialism; it has replaced revolution by evolution, the destruction of the bourgeois State by its active upbuilding, the theory of proletarian dictatorship by the theory of coalition with the bourgeoisie, the doctrine of international proletarian solidarity by preaching defence of the imperialist fatherland, for Marxian dialectical materialism it has substituted the idealist philosophy and is now engaged in picking up the crumbs of religion that fall from the table of the bourgeoisie.” (Handbook of Marxism pp. 1025-26.)
To deal with the first point:
It has substituted in place of the Marxian theory of the contradictions of Capitalism the bourgeois theory of its harmonious development.
Has the leadership of the L.P.P. advanced the theory of the “harmonious development” of capitalism? Let the reader consider the following statements of official L.P.P. policy. We will deal with them in chronological order. In 1943 Buck stated:
“Victory over the axis will clear the way for the full democratic development of all peoples – for the liberation of nations, the adoption of policies of economic security, the abolition of national oppression, the lifting of the colonial nations out of slavery into the light of freedom, on the basis of national self-determination.” (Canada in the Coming Offensive, p. 27.)
“Such is the evidence that the defeat of Hitlerism in Europe and Japan in Asia will open up the possibilities for far reaching social progress by orderly means for the peoples of the world.” (Victory Through Unity, p. 17.)
We now proceed to 1944:
“The question of how we can continue to produce and dispose of approximately the same amount of goods in peacetime as we are producing today is the crucial question that we shall then face as a Nation. If we solve that problem successfully, in a democratic way, we shall have taken a long stride towards a happier and more prosperous Canada.
“Wartime experience has proven conclusively that we can solve the problem in an orderly and democratic way.” (Unity or Chaos, p. 23.)
The same viewpoint of obtaining prosperity under capitalism by orderly means and democratic progress is emphasized by Buck in many of his statements. The 1944 federal election platform of the L.P.P. expresses a similar theory of “harmonious development of capitalism”:
“The approaching victory of the peoples will make possible long years of prosperity on the secure foundations of United Nations friendship and cooperation.” (A Better Canada, p. 5.)
From the above statements we have “full democratic development of all peoples,” “far-reaching social progress by orderly means for the peoples of the world,” “solving the problem” of full production in “an orderly democratic way,” and “long years of world prosperity.”
Thus we see how the L.P.P. leadership “has substituted in place of the Marxian theory of the contradictions of capitalism the bourgeois theory of its harmonious development.”
We shall now consider the second point:
It has pigeon-holed the theory of crisis and the pauperization of the proletariat.
In this connection the L.P.P. leadership states:
“Proud of their victorious defense of freedom in this war, and confident of continuing prosperity and progress, our people must march to new horizons in the years to come.” (A Better Canada, p. 8.)
“On the basis of the Teheran agreement there is now the possibility that capitalist economy will be able to avoid a crisis of the sort which followed the first world war.” TIM BUCK (National Affairs Monthly , April, 1944. p. 5.)
“Government policies in accord with the Teheran agreement will maintain the national income, the level of employment and popular purchasing power. They will make possible the achievement of a rising level of prosperity.” TIM BUCK. (Ibid., p. 4.)
“A government based upon a Democratic Coalition of Progressive Forces is the key to lasting prosperity in Canada and Canadian support to enduring peace in the world.” TIM BUCK (Depression or Prosperity, p. 12.)
“In the labor movement we had to combat the malicious sneers of the C.C.F. leaders, their complete refusal to understand that Teheran opens a tremendous perspective not only for speedy coalition victory in the war, but for organized post-war prosperity on the basis of reconstruction of the devastated world and steady increases in the standards of living.” SAM CARR. (National Affairs, September, 1944, p. 173.)
“If proper policies are pursued we can maintain a post war level of employment and purchasing power equal to if not higher than the relative prosperity brought by the war.” TIM BUCK (Depression or Prosperity, p. 4.)
“The central problem of Dominion government policy after the war will be to maintain the national income and public purchasing power at a prosperity level. This can be done. The war has proved that the nation through its elected government, can direct its economy so as to maintain any desired level of production within our physical capacity.” (A Better Canada, p. 11.)
Instead of the theory of crisis we have “capitalist economy will be able to avoid a crisis.” Instead of the pauperization of the proletariat we get “continuing prosperity,” “lasting prosperity,” “organized post-war prosperity,” and the “maintenance of any desired level of economy.”
The third point will now be dealt with:
It has turned the flaming and menacing theory of class struggle into prosaic advocacy of class peace.
Has the leadership of the L.P.P. turned the theory of class struggle into “prosaic advocacy of class peace?” Consider the following statements:
“The Teheran Declaration is, therefore, above all a platform of democratic struggle. The fight for policies in accord with it in every country is primarily a struggle to unite labor and all democratic forces, including a section of the capitalist class behind policies of jobs, social security and progress at home, through cooperation with all democratic peoples in post war reconstruction and development abroad.” TIM BUCK. (Club Life, Aug., 1945.)
And Buck wrote the article the above quotation is taken from to prove that the L.P.P. “did not have a revisionist line.” According to Buck the Teheran Declaration is “a platform of democratic struggle” and this struggle has as its aim to “unite labor” with “a section of the capitalist class.” But to continue:
“The task of labor statesmanship is to go forward on the basis of anti-fascist coalition and cooperation with the decisive sections of monopoly capital who are carrying through the Teheran offensive against fascism both in military terms and in terms of long range policy.” STEWART SMITH. (National Affairs Monthly, June, 1944, p. 76.)
Just think! The “decisive sections of monopoly capital” are now “anti-fascist” and “the task of labor statesmanship” is to go forward in “coalition” and “cooperation” with these “decisive sections of monopoly capital.” In other words, the anti-fascist forces, according to Smith, include the “decisive sections of monopoly capital” and “labor” in “coalition” and “cooperation.”
To such abject depths of opportunism has the “People’s Front of struggle against fascism and war,” which Dimitroff stated, was “A struggle against fascism, a struggle against capitalism, a struggle for the victory of socialism throughout the world,” finally been perverted. And it should be noted that these policies were advanced, not as a temporary expedient during the war, but “in terms of long-range policy,” as a policy for the post-war.
The idea of class peace was not confined to Canada alone by the L.P.P. leaders but to the entire world:
“The great coalition between the U.S.S.R. and the capitalist democracies is the highest expression of the world wide class alliance brought into being by the war. This class alliance and the continued cooperation of the socialist and democratic states will be the instrument for an orderly unfolding of a great democratic political transition in the old world.” TIM BUCK. (Depression or Prosperity, p. 11.)
To proceed to the fifth point:
It has exchanged the theory of growing class antagonisms for the petty bourgeois fairy tale about the “democratization of capital.”
In this connection consider the following:
“Herridge’s speeches mirror a large and important sentiment in favor of democratic progress within the Conservative Party.” TIM BUCK. (A Democratic Front for Canada, p. 14.)
“The speech of Mr. Herridge at the Tory convention represents the sentiments of a section of progressive Conservatives who can and should become part of the great line-up of democratic forces in Canada.” SAM CARR. (Ibid., p. 7.)
“It is therefore in the interests of the working class and other sections of the population, including the enlightened capitalists, to oppose policies of wage cutting and advocate policies leading to higher incomes.” W. KASHTON, executive secretary to the National Executive. (National Affairs, Aug. 1944, p. 153.)
“But what will be the nature of all this planning? It will be essentially and fundamentally an agreement between the more far sighted sections of monopoly capital, who recognize the need of such control and state intervention to make capitalism work, and the working class and progressive-democratic forces of the nation.” STEWART SMITH. (National Affairs, June 1944, p. 74.)
“National unity means unity of everyone in the nation under the banner of democracy. Democracy means homes, jobs, rehabilitation, freedom of speech, and better education.” SAM CARR. (The P.A. (Pacific Advocate) Sept. 22, 1945.)
“Is it possible to achieve national unity in Canada for the carrying through of such policies? (Policies of economic expansion, raising of the standards of life of a thousand million people and a higher political stage in the world as a whole. – F.M.) Indeed it is. One of the best pieces of evidence to show that it is possible is to be seen in the changing tone and character of opinions expressed by many leading spokesmen of the capitalist class.” TIM BUCK. (Unity or Chaos, p. 25.)
The above quotations graphically depict how the L.P.P. leaders have replaced the Marxian theory of “growing class antagonisms” by the theory of the big capitalists becoming “democratic,” “far sighted,” “enlightened” and “progressive,” i.e., “the democratization of capital.”
We shall now take point six:
In place of the theory of the inevitability of war under capitalism it has substituted the bourgeois deceit of pacifism and the lying propaganda of “ultra-imperialism.”
We shall now review the position taken by the L.P.P. leaders:
“If anybody cares to study the magnificent panorama laid open to mankind by the agreements of Teheran and the Crimea he will find that what it really amounts to is an agreement between three leaders of world democracy that henceforth their aim and objective must be to maintain peace by making the years which follow this war The Epoch of the Abolition of Poverty.” TIM BUCK. (The Crimea Decisions and Your Future, p. 8.)
So! Henceforth British and American Imperialism, according to Buck, are going to maintain peace by making the post war years “The Epoch of the Abolition of Poverty,” a slogan coined by Buck himself. Imperialism is not only going to maintain peace but abolish poverty. Here we have the theory of ultra-imperialism in all its nakedness and advanced by the National leader of a supposed Communist movement. But to continue:
“We can make our nation a conscious partner in the galaxy of democratic peoples marching through victory to a prosperous peace and through prosperity in the peace to a richer, better world envisaged in the historic agreement consummated at Teheran.” TIM BUCK. (National Affairs, April, 1944, p. 7.)
“The Teheran agreement opens up the perspective of all the productive power of the United States, Canada and Britain being put to work when the war is over, producing equipment and supplies for rebuilding the devastated cities, railway systems, industries and farms of Europe, parts of the Soviet Union, and vast areas of the Far East. It opens up a perspective in which, for the first time in history, the nations would cooperate in making good the devastation of a great war. It even brings forward the possibility of extending the advantages of industrial civilization to backward areas without subjecting them, to Imperialist exploitation. The Teheran agreement opens up the prospect for a period of tremendous economic and political progress.” (Ibid., p. 3.)
According to Buck the Imperialist powers are not only going to cooperate in the post war but industrialize the colonial countries ”without subjecting them to Imperialist exploitation.” This is really ”brilliant.” To continue:
“United Nations unity and collaboration can be maintained when the war is won. Peace can be preserved once the Axis power is destroyed. The twenty year treaty between Britain and the U.S.S.R. is an augury of the international relations which are possible after the war.” TIM BUCK (Canada in the Coming Offensive, p. 27.)
“... Only the overthrow of Capitalism will put an end to all war;...” (The United Front, p. 133.)
Point seven reads as follows:
It has exchanged the theory of the revolutionary downfall of capitalism for the counterfeit coinage of “sound” capitalism transforming itself peacefully into socialism.
There follows the position of the L.P.P. leadership:
“Victory over the Axis... will assure the possibility of tremendous strides forward, towards the great cultural, economic and social advancement outlined in the Atlantic Charter. It will assure freedom for the national development of those peoples who have been oppressed. (No doubt Java and Indo-China are examples of such freedom. – F.M.) The people of India will be able to secure their national freedom. China will be free. Nations in which the dominant trend of political opinion is Socialist will be able to translate their opinions into action.” TIM BUCK. (Canada in the Coming Offensive, p. 27.)
“... This mighty democratic upsurge marks a tremendous forward step. It will bring lasting benefits to the majority of the people, however, only if, out of it, there is developed a unified political movement of progressive workers, farmers and middle class people who can guide that movement steadily forward in a struggle to elect farmer-labor governments and finally a government that will establish Socialism in Canada. “ TIM BUCK (Victory through Unity, p. 56.)
So “progressive” workers, farmers and middle class people are going to “elect” a “government that will establish Socialism in Canada.”
Speaking of the Teheran agreement, Buck stated:
“This class alliance and the continued cooperation of socialist and democratic capitalist states will be the instrument for an orderly unfolding of a great democratic political transition in the old world.” (Depression or Prosperity, p. 11.)
In addition to the above, the writings of Buck and other L.P.P. leaders are replete with statements which although they do not frankly forecast “capitalism transforming itself peacefully into Socialism” in so many words, nevertheless make that inference. For instance, we get such statements as: “The Teheran agreement opens up the prospect for a period of tremendous economic and political progress.” As a variation we get:
“It will be the sacred duty of all men and women who crave for peace and social progress to strive to maintain the largest possible measure of national unity in support of continued unity of the United Nations. Such unity can be the guarantee of a lasting peace, collective security and orderly social progress after victory has been achieved.” TIM BUCK. (Unity or Chaos, p. 14.)
From the above it is clear that Buck claimed that national unity which he described as cooperation between labor and a decisive section of the capitalist class, and international unity would guarantee lasting peace, collective security and orderly social progress. Following Teheran the “prospect” became “tremendous political progress” as a result of that “diplomatic agreement” as Duclos termed it.
Ironically enough the Party which termed itself “The Party of scientific socialism” became one of the principal opponents of the very idea of establishing socialism in Canada. Consider these statements from the leadership of a Party that professes to have as its objective, Socialism:
“Establishment of socialism is not an immediate issue in Canada; it will not be in the immediate post war period. Certain specific objective conditions must exist to make the question of socialism an immediate issue and they do not as yet exist in Canada.” TIM BUCK. (Unity or Chaos, p. 35.)
“Any honest appraisal of the situation which exists today compels recognition of the fact that capitalist economy has expanded tremendously and uninterruptedly throughout the past five years and the prospect is for further considerable development after the war. The overwhelming majority of Canada’s people support this economic system and it will unquestionably continue to prevail in the post-war years. In the face of these facts it would be dishonest to suggest that we can determine what sort of economic system we shall live under after the war. Objective forces have decided that for us.” TIM BUCK. (The Crimea Decisions, p. 8.)
“There is no objective basis for any suggestion that conditions, objective and subjective, in Canada will be such as to make it possible to abolish the profit system here in the immediate post war period.” TIM BUCK. (National Affairs, April, 1944, p. 4.)
“To support policies in accord with the Teheran agreement means to accept the prospect that capitalist relationships will continue in Canada in the post war years.” (lbid.)
The only kind of sense the above petty-bourgeois sophisms contain, from a Marxist viewpoint, is nonsense. First, Buck states that Socialism is not an immediate issue because “certain specific objective conditions” “do not as yet exist in Canada.” The very fact that Canadian capitalism long ago reached the monopoly stage, the stage of Imperialism, created the prerequisites, the objective conditions, which places the question of Socialism on the order of the day. And even though Canada had not advanced economically to the point it has, during the period of world Imperialism the question of Socialism would still be on the order of the day because:
“Formerly, it was customary to talk of the existence or absence of objective conditions for the proletarian revolution in individual countries, or, to be more exact, in this or that advanced country. This point of view is now inadequate. Now we must say that objective conditions for the revolution exist throughout the whole system of imperialist world economy, which is an integral unit; the existence within this system of some countries that are not sufficiently developed from the industrial point of view cannot form an insurmountable obstacle to the revolution, if the system as a whole has become, or more correctly, because the system as a whole has become ripe for the revolution.” STALIN. (Foundations of Leninism, pp. 33-34.)
And forty years ago Lenin wrote: “The conditions for Socialism in Europe have reached not a certain degree of maturity, but are already mature.” (Two Tactics, p. 69.)
So Lenin pointed out the conditions for Socialism were mature in Europe, but forty years later Buck claims such conditions do not yet exist in Canada.
But having presented his “objective conditions” theory against the possibility of achieving Socialism, Buck goes further and states that: “I would be dishonest to suggest that we can determine what sort of economic system we shall live under after the war. Objective forces have decided that for us.” So! Objective conditions, i.e., the level of development of productive forces, decide whether or not Socialism is realizable. This theory is almost identical with that of Kautsky regarding the “level of productive forces” of whom Stalin wrote:
“... Did anybody betray the working class? Oh, no! Everything was as it should have been. In the first place the (2nd.) International is an “instrument of peace,” and not of war. Besides, in view of the ’level of productive forces’ which then prevailed, it was impossible to do anything else. And so the ’blame’ is thrown on ’productive forces.’ This is precisely the explanation vouchsafed ’us’ by Mr. Kautsky’s ’productive forces’ ’theory.’ Whoever does not believe in this ’theory’ is not a Marxist. The role of the Parties? Their part in the movement? But what could a Party do against so decisive a factor as the ’level of productive forces?’ A host of similar examples of such falsification of Marxism could be quoted.
“It is hardly necessary to prove that this spurious Marxism which is intended to hide the nakedness of opportunism, is only a European adaptation of that theory of ’tailism’ which Lenin fought even before the first Russian revolution.
“It is hardly necessary to prove that the elimination of this theoretical falsification is a prerequisite for the creation of truly revolutionary parties in the west.” STALIN. (Ibid., p. 31.)
But Buck does not confine his argument against Socialism to objective conditions, but goes further when he states: “Conditions objective and subjective” are such that “there is no objective basis for any suggestion to make it possible” “to abolish the profit system here in the immediate post war period.”
Here we have a truly formidable array of “objective and subjective” conditions aligned by Buck against the possibility of achieving Socialism. Actually, however, Buck’s alignment of both objective and subjective conditions against the possibility of achieving Socialism in the near future is nothing more nor less than the old “theory” of spontaneity of which Stalin wrote:
“The ’theory’ of spontaneity is the theory of opportunism. It is the theory of deference to the spontaneity of the labor movement, the theory that actually denies to the vanguard of the working class, to the Party of the working class, its leading role.
“The theory of deference to spontaneity is decidedly opposed to the revolutionary character of the labour movement; it is opposed to the movement following the line of struggle against the foundations of capitalism and is in favor of the movement following exclusively the line of ’possible’ demands which are ’acceptable’ to and can be carried out under capitalism. It is wholly in favour of the ’line of least resistance.’ The theory of spontaneity represents the ideology of trade unionism.
“The theory of deference to spontaneity is decidedly opposed to giving the spontaneous movement a conscious, methodical character. It is opposed to the Party marching ahead of the working class, elevating the masses to the level of class consciousness and leading the movement...” (Ibid., p. 29.)
What are the subjective forces or conditions in the struggle for Socialism which Buck referred to? Obviously the subjective forces are the working class and its allies. And if the subjective forces are not yet ready for Socialism then it is the duty of a Marxist Party to further their development for “the Party to march ahead of the working class” as Stalin stated. Compare Buck’s attitude towards the level of development of the subjective forces with that of Dimitroff:
“Waging a decisive struggle against any reliance on spontaneity, we take account of the process of development of the revolution, not as passive observers, but as active participants in the process. As a Party of revolutionary action – fulfilling at every stage of the movement the tasks that are in the interests of the revolution, the tasks that correspond to the specific conditions at each stage, and soberly taking into consideration the political level of the wide mass of the working people – we accelerate more than in any other way, the creation of the subjective preconditions necessary for the victory of the proletarian revolution.” (The United Front, p. 140.)
Whereas Buck informs the working class that subjective conditions do not make possible even the “suggestion” that Socialism can be realized in the immediate post war years, Dimitroff points out that a Marxist Party “accelerates” “the creation of the subjective preconditions” as active participants. Clearly we have here two entirely different viewpoints of the problem of “subjective conditions.”
Instead of utilizing the theory of Socialism as a means of mobilizing the working people for the achievement of Socialism such an attitude does the very opposite. Consider the true Marxian position on the utilization of theory to “change the world:”
“The strength and vitality of Marxism-Leninism are derived from the fact that it relies upon an advanced theory which correctly reflects the needs of development of the natural life of society that it elevates theory to a proper level, and that it deems it its duty to utilize every ounce of the mobilizing, organizing and transforming power of this theory.” STALIN. (Dialectical and Historical Materialism, p. 24.)
Thus we see how, instead of utilizing Marxian theory to “transform” society, Marxian theory is perverted to “prove” that “objective and subjective conditions” “do not make it possible to change the profit system in the immediate post war years.” But Buck goes still further and tells us that:
“... A large number of people... try to leap over the immediate problems which confront the democratic movement and assume that the immediate post war issue will be that of abolishing Capitalism. Such an attitude, today, is contrary to the interests of the working class.” (National Affairs, April, 1944, pp. 4-5.)
Precisely! To assume that the abolition of Capitalism should be an issue “in the immediate post war” is “contrary to the interests of the working class” according to the leadership of the L.P.P. The Communist movement which came into being for the express purpose of the abolition of capitalism, through its leadership now informs the workers that “to assume” that the immediate post war issue is the abolition of capitalism “is contrary to the interest of the working class.” Such are the fruits of the revision of Marxism.
Point eight states:
It has replaced revolution by evolution
In this connection we get the following:
“From the dawn of human history, all property relations and state forms have been subject to historical evolution and change consequent upon the evolution in historical conditions.” (Program of the L.P.P., p. 36.)
This apparently innocuous statement is then further elaborated:
“The fundamental issues which will confront the Canadian people when, in their majority, they decide to establish socialism will be the restoration of the industries and resources from which they have been alienated by the monopolists, to their rightful owners – the Canadian people – as public, Socialist property. Such a fundamental transformation of society will come about as the result of the evolution and historical change in the march forward of the Canadian people. It can take place only by the will of the majority of the people.” (Ibid., pp. 37-38.)
Here again we have a “bowing to spontaneity.” When “the Canadian people” in their majority “decide to establish Socialism” it “will come about as the result of the evolution and historical change in the march forward of the Canadian people.” Here indeed is a “clear and unequivocal” explanation of how Socialism is to be achieved “as the result of evolution and historical change.” And this nonsensical phrase mongering is palmed off as Marxism.
Let us now consider the real Marxian position on the question of the “fundamental transformation of society” from Capitalism to Socialism and the role of evolution:
“Up to a certain period the development of the productive forces and the changes in the realm of the relations of production proceed spontaneously, independently of the will of men. But that is so only up to a certain moment, until the new and developing productive forces have reached a proper state of maturity.
“After the new productive forces have matured, the existing relations of production and their upholders – the ruling classes – become that ’insuperable’ obstacle which can only be removed by the conscious action of the new classes, by the forcible acts of these classes, by revolution. Here there stands out in bold relief the tremendous role of new social ideas, of new political institutions, of a new political power, whose mission it is to abolish by force the old relations of production. Out of the conflict between the new productive forces and the old relations of production, out of the new economic demands of society there arise new social ideas; the new ideas organize and mobilize the masses; the masses become welded into a new political army, create a new revolutionary power, and make use of it to abolish by force the old system of relations of production, and firmly to establish the new system. The spontaneous process of development yields place to the conscious actions of men, peaceful development to violent upheaval, evolution by revolution.” STALIN. (Dialectical and Historical Materialism, pp. 43-44.)
Thus we see how the leadership of the L.P.P., in the Party’s official program, has substituted for the Marxian theory of the Proletarian Revolution the Social Democratic theory of evolution.
To proceed to point nine:
It has replaced... the destruction of the bourgeois State by its active upbuilding.
The following statements by the L.P.P. leaders are worthy of consideration in this connection:
“... State policy after the war, as during the war can achieve very great results in making the system work, and it is essential that the working class should support such a policy. But this can only have meaning when understood as an agreement between labor and the decisive sections of monopoly capital.” STEWART SMITH. (National Affairs, June, 1944, p. 74.)
“Maintain the right of the provinces in matters pertaining to religion, education, control of natural resources, supervision of municipal affairs and civil rights, while granting the Dominion government extended jurisdiction in matters pertaining to social legislation, restriction of monopolies and national action to maintain production.” (Federal Election Program of the L.P.P., p. 27.)
“The department of External Affairs must be elevated to a full Ministry of the Government headed by a Minister of Foreign Affairs.” (Ibid., p. 30.)
“We should extend full diplomatic representation to all countries with which Canada maintains trade and diplomatic relations.” (Ibid.)
On April 20, 1944, Fred Rose (since the election of 1945, sole L.P.P. member in the Federal Parliament), participated in the debate on Canadian State policy in connection with air transit rights for foreign commercial air lines in the post war. Said Rose:
“Freedom of air transit, as defined by the minister in his statement, gives away the geographical advantages which Canada possesses without getting any advantages for us in return which are of practical use.”
After quoting the statement of the Minister, in which he, the Minister, proposed freedom of transit for foreign commercial lines crossing Canada, Rose objected:
“If this means anything, it means that Canada gets nothing useful in return for granting freedom of air transit, while countries like the United Kingdom and the United States will get very real benefits. Why should we give up this right so cheaply? What we should do is to grant this right in return for a very concrete quid pro quo, for example, from the United States some integration of the air-craft manufacturing industries in the two countries by which Canada may be guaranteed an outlet for certain definite types of planes which we can make here, plus the right for us to pick up and deliver in the United States traffic to and from the West Indies; from England, the benefits of cheap air mail rates to Empire destinations; from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, reciprocal landing and freight traffic rights on trans-polar routes.” (National Affairs, June, 1944, pp. 78-79.)
How touching! Rose’s concern for “advantages for us,” “rights for us to pick up and deliver,” and of securing ”rights for us” from the Soviet Union before permitting the planes of that worker’s state to fly over the waste lands of Canada’s polar North is indeed pathetic. His complaint was that the Canadian bourgeoisie were not driving a hard enough bargain in view of the “geographical advantages which Canada possesses” and therefore he felt it incumbent upon himself to tell them, as he did, that:
“It is quite within the realm of full international collaboration for us to ask for and expect to get some usable advantage, such as those just described, in return for making our airfields and services available to the air lanes of other nations.” (Ibid., p. 79.)
All of which is reminiscent of Lenin’s statement that “Practise has shown that the active people in the working class movement who adhere to the opportunist trend are better defenders of the bourgeoisie, than the bourgeoisie itself.”
Buck was also gravely concerned regarding state policy, but in connection with trade agreements. Said Buck:
“Important as Empire trade will be to Canada after the war, Imperial preferences can be only secondary to the broader aim of a tremendous expansion of world trade in general.” (Ibid., p. 70-71.)
To proceed to point ten of the indictment of Social Democracy for its revision of Marxian theory:
It has replaced the theory of proletarian dictatorship with the theory of coalition with the bourgeoisie.
Did the leadership of the L.P.P. advocate coalition with the bourgeoisie? Let the reader peruse the following authoritative statements of L.P.P. policy:
“Is the Labor movement going to work for a class alliance of labor and the liberal sections of the bourgeoisie in Canada in conformity with the general world alliance which is taking shape, or are we going to allow the growing, increasingly consistent, defeatist splitting line of the Coldwell-Lewis-Scott leadership of the C.C.F. to pass itself off as the expression of working class interest and opinion?” TIM BUCK. (National Affairs, Oct., 1944, p. 200.)
“The main popular base around which a democratic coalition, which will give labor direct representation in the government and isolate the anti-Teheran Tories, can be established is Mackenzie King and the masses of genuine reform Liberals who support him.” (Ibid.)
So! The leader of Buck’s coalition between labor and the bourgeoisie was to be none other than Prime Minister McKenzie King himself.
In Quebec politics the L.P.P. line was the same:
“Responsibility for deciding the course of events in Quebec rests with the Liberal bourgeoisie and the labor movement: by introducing measures and advancing policies which will help to overcome national inequalities, they can draw into the democratic camp great masses of nationalist supporters and thereby isolate the enemies of the people.
“The fight for democratic labor and wage policies at Quebec can only be waged with success as part of the struggle for a labor democratic unity that will include the liberals... ” STANLEY RYERSON. (National Affairs, May, 1944, pp. 36-37.)
“In my own province of Quebec my party is strongly advocating a coalition of the forces of Labor and the Liberals in the coming provincial election; for this is the only way to fight and beat the pro-fascist and anti-war conspiracies engineered by the Tory Duplessis and the misleaders of the Bloc Populaire. The political struggle in Quebec has crystallized to the point where thinking people will understand that Labor must exert its maximum efforts to influence and unite with the Liberals to safeguard and advance Labor’s political and economic gains.” FRED ROSE, M.P. (National Affairs, July, 1944, p. 100.)
And in Ontario:
“As the days go by there are reasons for thinking that the positive, realistic idea that economic growth in Ontario, conversion to peacetime production and expanding markets, coupled with the lifting and maintenance of wage standards, greater civil rights and provincial and national measures of social reform, is gaining ground among the workers and among the supporters of the C.C.F. Such a policy is one that leads to the strengthening of the labor movement and its greater participation in politics through its own independent political action in cooperation with the governments and the employers.” LESLIE MORRIS. (National Affairs, April, 1944, p. 10.)
Just so! During this “new epoch” labor achieves “independent political action” by means of “cooperation with the governments and the employers.” In other words, class collaboration is now sugar-coated and termed “independent political action.” In the hands of the revisionists, English words are defined as meaning the exact opposite to what they actually do mean. But to quote two more expressions of L.P.P. policy:
“We appealed to all sections of labor, including the C.C.F., to understand that the election of a bloc of C.C.F., L.P.P. and independent labor men to the House of Commons would be of great value to the people only if this group undertakes to take part in government, by entering a coalition with the Liberal Party the one capitalist party still amendable to progressive pressure of the masses.” SAM CARR. (National Affairs, Sept., 1944, p. 174.)
“I believe that to win the peace, the great forces of Canadian democracy must unite to give Canada the government and policy that Canadians are fighting for.
“I believe these forces are to be found in two places above all:
“Among the Liberals, led by the Prime Minister, who have organized the war effort and who best express the Capitalist interests who now realize they can democratically solve their problems only in cooperation with labor;
“Among labor, which embraces the great working population, and forms the great popular basis for victory in the war and progress in the peace.” TIM BUCK. (National Affairs, July, 1944. p. 98.) Buck continues:
“Elect a Liberal-Labor Coalition government, based on cooperation with all the anti-fascist elements in our population.
“Such a government could expand production and provide jobs and social security, and cooperate with the United Nations to outlaw war and aggression.
“To this end, labor must assert itself in political matters, in a united manner, to achieve this great collaboration and to make possible the winning of the conditions for which our armed forces are storming the Fortress of Europe.
“I call on Canadian Labor and all democrats to chart such a course, and do our duty by the fighting sons and daughters of Canada.
“Everything for the Liberation Front!
“A Liberal-Labor Coalition to make Canada worthy of our Heroes!” (Ibid.)
Here we have as complete a revision of Marxian theory as it is probably possible to find in a few short paragraphs. First of all, according to Buck, the Capitalists “now realize” they “can solve their problems,” i.e., the contradictions of capitalism, i.e., “make capitalism work,” through cooperation with labor. A very interesting statement for a professed Marxist.
Secondly, if labor and the Capitalist Liberal Party would only jointly form a federal government, such a government “could expand production” and “provide jobs and social security.” This also is quite interesting.
Thirdly, Buck “calls on Canadian labor” to “achieve this great collaboration.” In so many words Buck publicly advocates class collaboration which he promises will give the workers “jobs and social security.”
Fourthly, Buck invokes the esteem in which those in the armed forces are held to help put over his policy of class collaboration by telling the Canadian working class it is their “duty” to “the fighting sons and daughters of Canada” to practise class collaboration.
Thus, on the basis of their own statements we see how the leadership of the L.P.P. “replaced the theory of proletarian dictatorship by the theory of coalition with the bourgeoisie.”
Point eleven states:
It has replaced the doctrine of international proletarian solidarity by preaching defense of the imperialist fatherland.
In connection with this point the reader should consider the following statements:
“Our first loyalty has been, is, and will always be, to the true national interests of our country – Canada. We are a product of Canadian democracy.” TIM BUCK. (Canada Needs a Party of Communists, p. 20.)
“The next parliament of Canada must have a majority who stand for this policy of true Canadian greatness; who will be bold and progressive and not afraid to enact far-reaching reforms; who will unite regardless of partisanship to form a government of National Unity.” (Federal Election Program of the L.P.P., p. 6.)
“Our country’s war effort has been magnificent both in men and materials. We have built up a mighty production machine in the cities and on the farms. The conditions for achieving in Canada a real People’s Peace are ready to our hand, provided we learn the lesson that the price of National greatness is National Unity.”
In other words Buck is telling the Canadian working class that Canada, which already is a ranking Imperialist power, could become a still greater Imperialist power (“National greatness”) if only the working class would “learn the lesson that the price of National greatness is national unity,” i.e., that if only the working class will agree to class collaboration then “national greatness,” or a really powerful Canadian Imperialism can be achieved.
Compare this attitude with the following estimate:
“Hence the development of Capitalism, and particularly the imperialist epoch of its development, reproduces the fundamental contradictions of capitalism on an increasingly magnified scale. Competition among small capitalists ceases, only to make way for competition among big capitalists; where competition among big capitalists subsides, it flares up between gigantic combinations of capitalist magnates and their governments; local and national crises become transformed into crises affecting a number of countries, and, subsequently, into world crises; local wars give way to wars between coalitions of States and to world wars; the class struggle changes from isolated actions by single groups of workers into nation-wide conflicts and, subsequently, into an international struggle of the world proletariat against the world bourgeoisie. Finally, two main revolutionary forces are organizing against the organized might of finance capital – on the one hand – the workers in the capitalist States on the other hand the victims of the oppression of foreign capital, the masses of the people in the colonies, marching under the leadership and the hegemony of the international revolutionary proletarian movement.
“However, this fundamental revolutionary tendency is temporarily paralyzed by the fact that certain sections of the European, North American and Japanese proletariat are bribed by the imperialist bourgeoisie and by the treachery of the national bourgeoisie in the semi-colonial and colonial countries who are scared by the revolutionary mass movement. The bourgeoisie in imperialist countries, able to secure additional surplus profits from the position it holds in the world market (more developed technique, export of capital to countries with a higher rate of profit, etc.), and from the proceeds of its plunder of the colonies and semi-colonies, was able to raise the wages of its ’own’ workers out of these surplus profits, thus giving these workers an interest in the development of ’home’ capitalism, in the plunder of the colonies and in being loyal to the imperialist State.
“This systematic bribery was and is being very widely practised in the most powerful imperialist countries and finds most striking expression in the ideology and practise of the labor aristocracy and the bureaucratic strata of the working class, i.e., the social-democratic and trade union leaders, who proved to be direct agents of bourgeois influence among the proletariat and stalwart pillars of the capitalist system.” Program of the C.I. (Handbook of Marxism, pp. 970-71.)
Point twelve of the indictment of those who revised and betrayed Marxian theory reads:
For Marxian dialectical materialism it has substituted the idealist philosophy.
The substitution of idealist philosophy for the materialist philosophy of Marxism, dialectical materialism, is expressed throughout the writings of the L.P.P. leadership. In fact, the revision of Marxism generally could not be achieved without abandoning dialectical materialism and substituting idealism. We will consider some examples from official statements of L.P.P. leaders over a ten-year period:
“We have commenced active propaganda for the building up of the United Front of all progressive forces of the Canadian people in lasting form through the transformation of the C.C.F. into a broad federated people’s party.” STEWART SMITH, 1935. (Towards a Canadian People’s Front, pp. 19-20.)
The formulation “united front of all progressive forces” is a substitution of idealism for dialectical materialism and is completely at variance with the 7th Congress of the C.I. at which Dimitroff called for “a united front of the working class.”
Here we have a political concept not based on a materialistic conception of society as being a class society in which the only consistently progressive force is that class which has the historic task of taking political power and introducing a new and higher social order, Socialism, which is the working class. No! Instead of a materialist conception of the progressive forces being class forces, namely, the working class and its natural allies – the semi-proletarian sections of the urban middle class and of the farmers – we have an idealist division of the population into progressive and reactionary forces regardless of their class position. A division based on the ideas which individuals may temporarily hold or profess to hold on a specific issue. No consideration is given here to the fact that:
“... The main feature of the capitalist system is a most acute class struggle between the exploiters and the exploited.” STALIN. (Dialectical and Historical Materialism, p. 38.)
This concept of a “united front of all progressive forces” is the very opposite of the concept a Marxist should have:
“The practical activity of the party of the proletariat must not be based on the good wishes of ’outstanding individuals,’ not on the dictates of ’reason,’ ’universal morals,’ etc., but on the laws of development of society and on the study of these laws.” STALIN. (Ibid., p. 19.)
But to continue with other examples:
“The organization of a broad all-inclusive movement for the defense of peace is one of the most urgent tasks of the progressive people. Such a peace movement must embrace a far wider circle of organizations than the purely political labor organizations and the League of Nations Society. The trade union movement, the church, farm movements and, in many places, business men’s organizations, can be mobilized under the banner of the four points of the Cecil Program and the slogans of the Brussels Conference in the fight for peace. The Canadian League Against War and Fascism remains a very important lever of the progressive movement for this task must be strengthened and extended. It can only play its rightful role, however, when it is energetically utilized by the whole progressive movement as the main channel to a genuine mass movement against the menace of war.” TIM BUCK, 1937. (The Road Ahead, p. 32.)
As the above quotations show as far back as 1935, the Canadian self-styled “Marxists” had replaced materialism with idealism, had substituted for “the class struggle of the proletariat” and for the working class movement the “progressive movement.” This idealism was actually an attempt to link the working class movement with the church, the petty bourgeoisie and the liberal bourgeoisie. This becomes clearer in the following statement:
“On the other hand it is possible for the progressive forces to develop and bring before the people a program of demands which will satisfy their most urgent need...
“Such a program must provide the basis for joint action of all sections of the labor movement, the U.F-A. (United Farmers of Alberta), the Social Credit movement, the trade unions, the C.L.P., the C.C.F. and the Communist Party and even sincere progressives from the ranks of the capitalist parties.” TIM BUCK. (Ibid., p. 50.)
So! In this philosophical idealism Buck wishes to unite “sincere progressives from the ranks of the capitalist parties” with the Communists and the labor movement.
Instead of a Marxian dialectical approach we get a bourgeois metaphysical one. Compare Buck’s position with the following:
“In order not to err in policy, one must pursue an uncompromising proletarian class policy, not a reformist policy of harmony of the interests of the proletariat and the bourgeoisie not a compromiser’s policy of ’the growing of capitalism into socialism.’” STALIN. (Dialectical and Historical Materialism, p. 14.)
While Stewart Smith speaks of all progressive forces of the Canadian people Buck refers to the progressive movement and progressive people. This idealistic, non-Marxian concept of the people was castigated by Lenin forty years ago when he stated that his Party had:
“... Justly fought and continues to fight against the bourgeois democratic abuse of the word ’people.’ It demands that this word shall not be used to cover up a failure to understand the significance of class antagonisms. It absolutely insists on the need for complete class independence for the Party of the proletariat. But it divides the ’people’ into ’classes,’ not in order that the advanced class may become self-centered, or confine itself to narrow aims and restrict its activity so as not to frighten the economic masters of the world, but in order that the advanced class, which does not suffer from the half-heartedness. vacillation and indecision of the intermediate classes, shall with all the greater energy and enthusiasm fight for the cause of the whole of the people, at the head of the whole of the people.” (Two Tactics, p. 948)
Limitations of space compel us to move forward several years for our next example:
“Contrary to class collaboration policies, national unity is the policy by which the class interests of the working class as a whole will be served, by cooperation with the democratic circles of all classes and all sections of the Canadian people including a decisive section of the capitalist class in carrying through the economic and political measures which alone will ensure continual democratic progress and without which there is the gravest danger that fascist minded elements will come to power.” TIM BUCK, 1944. (Unity or Chaos, p. 21.)
In the above example we get “democratic circles of all classes” and “including a decisive section of the capitalist class” with whom the working class must “cooperate” to “ensure continual democratic progress.” In contradistinction to these “democratic circles of all classes” we get “fascist minded elements.”
In comparison to this attempt to present class collaboration as a virtue and based on the idealistic division of society into “democratic circles” and “fascist minded elements” consider the following:
“In order not to err in policy, in order not to find itself in the position of idle dreamers, the party of the proletariat must not base its activities on abstract ’principles of human reason,’ but on the concrete conditions of the material life of society, as the determining force of social development; not on the good wishes of ’great men,’ but on the real needs of development of the material life of society.” STALIN. (Dialectical and Historical Materialism, p. 21.)
Idealism rather than Marxian Materialism probably reached its peak in the following gem of L.P.P. policy:
“Labor must with single minded purpose join hands with the employers and all patriotic forces to subordinate all ideological, political, class and religious differences and weld stronger national unity to win the war and lay the foundation for the winning of the peace through the continuation of that national unity.” Editorial. (National Affairs, June, 1944, p. 66.)
So the working class is “to subordinate its ideology, its political and class differences” in order to practise class collaboration not only to win the war but to win the peace also through subordinating its interests to “the employers” “through continuation of national unity” in the post war, i.e., through continuation of class collaboration. And having presented this petty bourgeois, idealistic rubbish, this complete betrayal of working class interests and of Marxism, the L.P.P. leadership then tells the working class:
“We are the Party which, guided by scientific socialist understanding, helps guide the working class movement in the fulfillment of its tasks in the struggle for progress.” TIM BUCK. (Unity or Chaos, p. 46.)
The same theme is reiterated over a year later, at the August 1945, National Committee meeting of the L.P.P., this time substituting the term “National Front” for “National Unity” as follows:
“The political content of the post war struggle to maintain a national front will be expressed in the fact that it, also, must be based upon proposals which democratic Canadians can support regardless of class, religion or present political affiliation.” TIM BUCK. (The L.P.P. and Post War Canada, p. 16.)
What kind of political proposals would be those that could be supported by Canadians regardless of class or political affiliations? Could anyone who accepted the Marxist materialist concept of society adopt such a position? According to Buck his “national front” is to be based upon political proposals that can be supported “regardless of class or political affiliations” by all “democratic” Canadians. Buck goes further:
“Finally, while victory is now certain, and will come soon, it does not mean that we should immediately revert to the tactics usually referred to as ’class against class.’ That would be entirely wrong.” (Ibid., p. 35.)
Just so! For this “Marxist Party of the working class” to adopt policies based upon the independent class interests of the workers in opposition to the interests of the Capitalists “would be entirely wrong.”
Compare Buck’s position with the Marxian concept:
“... The transition from Capitalism to Socialism and the liberation of the working class from the yoke of capitalism cannot be effected by slow changes, by reforms, but only by a qualitative change of the Capitalist system, by revolution.
“Hence, in order not to err in policy, one must be a revolutionary, not a reformist.
“Further, if development proceeds by way of the disclosure of internal contradictions, by way of collisions between opposite forces on the basis of these contradictions and so as to overcome these contradictions, then it is clear that the class struggle of the proletariat is a quite natural and inevitable phenomenon.
“Hence we must not cover up the contradictions of the capitalist system, but disclose and unravel them; we must not try to check the class struggle but carry it to its conclusion.” STALIN. (Dialectical and Historical Materialism, p. 14.)
Or compare Buck’s position with that of Lenin:
“The proletariat seeks its salvation not by avoiding the class struggle, but by developing it by extending its scope, its own class consciousness, organization and determination.” (Two Tactics p. 94.)
We shall now proceed to the thirteenth and last point of the indictment of Social Democracy:
And it is now engaged in picking up the crumbs of religion that fall from the table of the bourgeoisie.
Here we present a few of the crumbs:
“... The first systematic and consistent efforts to assist the needy poor, to prevent usury, to curb exploitation, to regulate markets and establish just and mutually acceptable relationships between master and man during the feudal era, were supported by the Catholic Church and its various organizations, on the basis of the Catholic conception of the universal brotherhood of man and the dignity of human life. We Communists seek the universal brotherhood of man also, and we strive to safeguard the dignity and freedom of human life.” TIM BUCK. (A Democratic Front for Canada, p. 35.)
All of which is very interesting but “slightly” at variance with a Marxian concept of the role of Catholicism “during the feudal era” as the following viewpoint shows:
“On the one hand, the ravages of the Northmen’s invasions, the eternal wars between kings, and feuds between nobles, compelled one free peasant after another to seek the protection of some lord. Upon the other hand, the covetousness of these same lords and of the church hastened the process; by fraud, by promises, threats, violence, they forced more and more peasants and peasants’ land under their yoke. In both cases the peasants’ land was added to the lord’s manor, and was, at best, only given back for the use of the peasant in return for tribute and service. Thus the peasant, from a free owner of the land, was turned into a tribute-paying, service-rendering appendage of it, into a serf. This was the case west of the Rhine. East of the Rhine in the tenth, eleventh and twelfth centuries, the overwhelming power of the nobles and the church was constantly forcing more and more peasants into serfdom.” FREDERICK ENGELS. (Socialism Utopian and Scientific, pp. 86-87.)
According to Buck the Catholic Church “during the feudal era” supported efforts to “curb exploitation” of the exploited i.e., of the peasants. According to Engels, however, the Catholic Church “was constantly forcing more and more peasants into serfdom” for the purpose of exploiting them which is the reason for and purpose of serfdom.
“A Catholic, who really tries to carry the philosophy of the brotherhood of man into the daily activities of his life, or who strives consistently to live up to the directives issued from time to time in the Papal Encyclicals, seeks many of the things for which we Communists are fighting, because the Communist movement and the Catholic workers have numerous vital interests in common. Even today this objective common interest can be seen by a study of the declarations of the Pope on the questions of labor, labor organization and industrial relations.” TIM BUCK. (A Democratic Front for Canada, p. 35.)
This is very, very interesting. So the Pope’s declarations express “common interests” on questions of “labor, labor organization and industrial relations” with the Communist movement.
Buck then quotes the “impressive” words of Pope Pius XI in the encyclical of 1931 in which the Pope “characterized the outstanding feature of the present period and the trend of its development.” Buck is so impressed by the quotation that he comments as follows:
“The two foregoing paragraphs written by Pope Pius XI in his Encyclical called ’Quadragesimo Anno,’ outline the main characteristics of modern industrialism and emphasize the driving forces which are urging capitalism to fascism and war in terms which bear a distinct resemblance to those used by the founders of the Communist movement, Marx and Engels, when they wrote the famous Communist Manifesto in 1847.” (Ibid., p. 36.)
And this is very, very, very interesting. What Marx and Engels did say in the opening words of the Communist Manifesto was as follows:
“A spectre is haunting Europe – the spectre of Communism. All the powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre; Pope and Czar, Metternich and Guizot, French Radicals and German police spies.”
But according to Buck, the Pope’s declarations in Encyclicals express the common interests between Catholics and Communists and further that the Pope’s estimate of modern Capitalism bears a “distinct resemblance” to that of Marx and Engels in the Communist Manifesto. Buck concludes that section of his speech entitled Catholics and Communists as follows:
“We, Catholics and Communists, have much in common with each other. It is necessary that we understand each other better and work to make our Canada a better Canada for all of us.” (A Democratic Front for Canada, p. 37.)
Thus on the basis of their own official statements of policy is graphically expressed how the leadership of the L.P.P. has revised Marxian theory on every point that the Social Democratic parties have traditionally revised Marxism. It is further shown how the L.P.P. leadership “has utterly and completely betrayed Marxism, having traversed the road from revisionism to complete liberal bourgeois reformism.” In fact the advocacy of reforms to make capitalism work has become the main stock in trade of the L.P.P. leadership. As Buck himself explains it:
“We propose to fight for national unity around such policies because it will make possible the winning of far-reaching social reforms. (National Affairs, June, 1944, p. 6.)
As their own statements conclusively show, the policies of the L.P.P. leadership have nothing in common with Marxism-Leninism and Communism. On the contrary, their collective policies constitute a complete program of liberal bourgeois reformism with a window dressing of Marxian phrases. Their economic, financial, social and political reform theories have been adopted in toto from the bourgeois liberal reformers. Many of their economic and financial reform theories are taken from the British bourgeois economist, John Maynard Keynes and Morris W. Wilson, president of the Royal Bank of Canada, whom Buck commends as one of “the more far-sighted men among those who dominate Canadian economy.” The basic economic reform policy of “making capitalism work” through “state intervention” is the product of Keynes and the chief proponent of Keynes theories in North America was the late Franklin D. Roosevelt and his colleague ex-Vice President Henry Wallace whose slogan “The Century of the Common Man” Buck first adopted and later “improved upon” by coining the slogan “The epoch of the abolition of poverty.” It was not an accident that the basic line of the Liberal Party in Canada was almost identical with that of the L.P.P. Buck states:
“It is a significant thing that outside of the L.P.P. press and those papers which support the general line of democratic progress which we stand for, the only papers which came forward in a systematic way, hailing the Crimea decisions as a step forward, were Liberal papers.” (The Crimea Decisions and Your Future, p. 13.)
Precisely! It is significant but not in the sense Buck implies. The significance lies in the fact that “the general line of democratic progress” which Buck says “we support” is the line of bourgeois liberal reformism which the L.P.P. adopted from the liberal bourgeoisie. It was not a question of the Liberal Party and its press adopting a Marxian line but of the Canadian “Marxists” adopting a Liberal line and dressing it up in Marxian terminology.
The revision of Marxism in Canada went hand in hand with Browder’s revisionism in the U.S.A. although in some instances the Canadian revisionists anticipated and outdid Browder. The starting point of the revisionism was the abandonment of Marxian philosophical materialism and the substitution for it of bourgeois idealist philosophy, its antithesis. They completely abandoned the materialist conception of society, namely:
“That the economic structure of society always furnishes the real base, starting from which we can alone work out the ultimate explanation of the whole superstructure of juridical and political institutions as well as of the religious, philosophical and other ideas of a given historical period.” FREDERICK ENGELS. (Socialism Utopian and Scientific, p. 51.)
For this materialist concept the Canadian “Marxists” substituted the “idealist conception of history” which, Engels stated, “knew nothing of class struggles based upon economic interests, knew nothing of economic interests.” (Ibid.)
Hence, instead of basing their tactics on the class divisions of society the L.P.P. leadership divided the Canadian population according to the ideas they professed to hold regardless of their class position or political affiliation. For example:
“All democratic forces,” “unity of progressive forces,” “the progressive movement,” “all patriotic Canadians,” or as Buck stated in August, 1945, the “National Front... must be based upon proposals which democratic Canadians can support regardless of class, religion or political affiliation.” Or as Carr placed it, “National unity means unity of everyone in the nation under the banner of democracy,” or Stewart Smith’s formulation, “Anti-fascist coalition and cooperation with the decisive sections of monopoly capital.”
In substituting idealism for materialism in their idealistic division of society into “democratic forces” and “reactionary forces” the L.P.P. leadership revised the very foundation of Marxism, the doctrine of the class struggle.
As the program of the Communist International points out, Social Democracy, the theory and practise of class collaboration or “socialist” reformism are agencies of the imperialist bourgeoisie within the working class itself.” (Handbook of Marxism, p. 1029.) There is a distinction between social democracy or “socialist” reformism and the various petty bourgeois political tendencies of which the C.C.F. is an example. Social democracy is a political trend within the organizations of the working class, particularly in proletarian political parties and trade unions. The C.C.F. is not and does not profess to be either a Marxian Party or a proletarian party. Both its leadership and membership are overwhelmingly drawn from the ranks of the farmers and the urban petty bourgeoisie.
Hence, the C.C.F. could not betray Marxism as it does not even profess to be a Marxian Party and is not a proletarian party.
Hence, it follows that the foremost social democratic party of Canada, the Party which does profess to be a Marxian Party, which does have a majority of working class membership, the Party which has betrayed Marxism, is the Labor Progressive Party.
Since Canada is not a fascist country, thanks to the military defeat of fascism in the war just ended in which the working class of practically all countries played a self-sacrificing role in achieving that defeat, the leadership of the Labor Progressive Party has a perfect right to promote “socialist” reformist theories to “make capitalism work” to be a social democratic party and promote “the theory and practise of class collaboration” under the laws of a bourgeois democratic country. However, in the eyes of the class conscious section of the working class the leadership of the L.P.P. have no right to carry out their policies of class collaboration in the honored name of Marxism-Leninism. They have no right to revise, distort, vulgarize, falsify and pervert Marxism in order to gain credence for their class collaboration policies. Marxism-Leninism, the science of the strategy and tactics of the class struggle of the working class, belongs to the entire working class. And the working class must jealously guard this science which is its chief weapon in the struggle for its emancipation and the achievement of socialism.
The tragedy is however, that the revision and perversion of Marxism by the national leadership of the Communist movement in Canada from 1935 onwards has confused, disunited and misled precisely the most advanced and class conscious sections of the working class; causing many workers to turn to the C.C.F., Social Credit, Technocracy and other petty bourgeois political trends as an alternative to the class collaborationism of what was supposed to be Marxian Communism. In addition, many members and supporters of the L.P.P. continued to support their reformist policies for a considerable period, of whom the author was one, in spite of many doubts, in the sincere belief that surely the entire national leadership of the Canadian and American Communist movements could not both be wrong and the individual himself correct in his serious doubts regarding the correctness of the policies advanced.
It required the now famous article of Jacques Duclos to resuscitate their basically sound Marxian materialist outlook for many class conscious members and supporters of the L.P.P. to realize the degree to which they had permitted themselves to be misled and to abandon Marxism-Leninism because of their uncritical acceptance of policies and of trust in leaders who were not real leaders but misleaders and opportunists. Whether this misleadership was carried out consciously or unconsciously does not alter one iota the disastrous consequences which it has had for the working class and the cause of Socialism.
But it does confront the sincere adherents of Marxism in the ranks of the working class with the following responsibility:
“... In the struggle against Capitalism we must learn pitilessly to cast aside, pillory and hold up to general ridicule all phrase mongering, use of hackneyed formulas, pedantry and doctrinarism.
It is necessary to learn, Comrades, to learn always, at every step in the course of the struggle, at liberty and in jail. To learn and to fight, to fight and to learn. We must be able to combine the great teachings of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin with Stalinist firmness at work and in the struggle, with Stalinist irreconcilability on matters of principle toward the class enemy and deviators from the Bolshevik line, with Stalinist fearlessness in face of difficulties, with Stalinist revolutionary realism.” Dimitroff. (The United Front, p. 126.)
And one thing that the working class of Canada must learn once and for all is that the theory and practise of coalition or cooperation with the liberal bourgeoisie is the theory and practise of class collaboration regardless of how Marxism may be distorted in order to justify it.
As Dimitroff expressed it:
“An end must be put to the policy of reconciling the interests of the exploited and the exploiters.” (The United Front, p. 231.)
Or as Stalin has placed the question:
“Because the liberal bourgeoisie of an imperialistic country is bound to be counter-revolutionary.” (Marxism and the National and Colonial Question, p. 233.)
Because, as Lenin stated:
“The experience of alliances, agreements and blocs with the social-reformist liberals in the West and with the liberal reformists (Constitutional-Democrats) in the Russian revolution convincingly showed that these agreements only blunt the consciousness of the masses, that they weaken rather than enhance the actual significance of their struggle by linking the fighters with the elements who are least capable of fighting and who are most vacillating and treacherous.” (Marxism and Revisionism, Selected Works, Vol. XI, p. 709.)
It is patently ridiculous to assume that the class interests of the working class can be served through collaboration, cooperation, coalition, or whatever similar term may be used, with that class or a section of it whose economic and political interests are diametrically opposed to those of the working class. Such policies are an attempt to reconcile the irreconcilable, exploited and exploiters.
The liberal bourgeoisie constitute that section of the capitalist class who regard reforms in attempts to bolster up the, decadent capitalist system as the most suitable tactics to maintain their class rule and their so called liberalism or progressiveness is vacillating, inconsistent and unreliable as every sharp historical turn in recent years has conclusively proven. It could not be otherwise. The only consistently progressive forces in modern society, in the epoch of moribund capitalism, are those forces which stand for the complete abolition of capitalism and its replacement by a higher social order, socialism. And such forces certainly do not include the liberal bourgeoisie whose very liberalism itself is designed for the express purpose, not of abolishing capitalism, but in order to perpetuate it.
This does not mean that occasions may not arise when the liberal bourgeoisie or a section of them may support policies which the working class also support. But that is no justification for forming an alliance with the liberal bourgeoisie but rather to carry out the dictum of Lenin and recognize “the provisional character of our tactics to ’strike together’ with the bourgeoisie and the duty to carefully watch our ’ally’ as if he were an enemy, etc.” (Two Tactics, p. 72.)
Neither does the correct policy of maintaining a strictly independent class position imply that it was incorrect to regard the war just ended as a just war. It was correct for the working class to work for victory in the war. The mistake was in surrendering its independent class position and uncritically accepting and following the leadership of the liberal bourgeoisie, as a result of the misleadership given by social democratic elements within both the Canadian and American labor movement.
In this connection consider Lenin’s estimation of the liberal bourgeoisie even prior to the overthrow of semi-feudal Czarism:
“Being the ideologists of the bourgeoisie, the Liberals fully understand the advantages ensuing to the bourgeoisie from the ’practicalness, sobriety, and serious-mindedness’ of the working class, i.e., its practically confining its activities within the limits of capitalism, reforms, trade union struggle, etc.” LENIN. (Two Tactics, p. 101.)
“The bourgeoisie will always be inconsistent. There is nothing more naive and futile than attempts to set forth conditions and points, which, if satisfied, would enable us to regard bourgeois democracy as a sincere friend of the people. Only the proletariat can be a consistent fighter for democracy.” (Ibid., p. 49.)
What the working class requires above all is a capable, Marxist leadership. That it why it is necessary, nay essential, to build a Marxist party of the working class, a Communist Party, dedicated to the organization of the proletariat as a class and to the achievement of Socialism.
Why a “strictly independent class party of the working class?” Because:
“The peasantry consists of a great number of semi-proletarian as well as petty bourgeois elements. This causes it also to waver and compels the proletariat to close its ranks in a strictly class party.” LENIN. (Two Tactics, p. 38.)
As our examination has shown the Labor Progressive Party “has utterly and completely betrayed Marxism, having traversed the road from revisionism to complete bourgeois liberal reformism.” Hence, the necessity of the sincere members and supporters of the L.P.P. realizing that, “... Intelligent workers must never forget that sometimes serious violations of principles occur, which make the break off of organizational relations absolutely necessary.”
And a Marxist Party that will organize, educate and unite the working class in defense of its day to day interests and provide the leadership necessary for the attainment of socialism is essential because:
“Outside of Socialism there is no deliverance of humanity from wars, from hunger, from the destruction of millions and millions of human beings.” LENIN.