First Published: Canadian Worker, Vol 1, No. 7, December, 1969
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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November 28, 1968, was the first time that “Canadian Party of Labour” name and literature were used in a public forum. That was during last year’s Hemispheric Conference on Vietnam, held in Montreal. That weekend, C.P.L. helped organize a quickly-formed “Anti-Imperialist Caucus”. The caucus battled for a principled Vietnam position against the Canadian “Communist” Party, the representatives of the Vietnam National Liberation Front and the U.S. Black Panther Party, as well as various other New Left romantics and nationalists. CPL opposed the line of negotiations in Paris, and pointed out the danger to the North American anti-Vietnam war movement of uncritical acceptance of NLF strategy, and of revisionist control of that movement. Both the NLF and the BPP, as well as the Quebec nationalists, were behind the “Communist” Party in outlawing any criticism of revisionism anywhere (including the invasion of Czechoslovakia). We learned in struggle that imperialism cannot be fought in any country without linking it up with a fight against U.S. imperialism’s chief accomplice, the Soviet social-imperialists. Romantic notions surrounding both the NLF and the Panthers are extremely difficult to fight but you cannot back off one inch in fighting for a principled position. Genuine Marxist-Leninists should be the first to push a thoroughly working-class perspective.
But we suffered from a reliance on “front groups” (notably the “Canadians for the National Liberation Front”) and a faith in nationalism as the path to socialist revolution in Canada. We have since repudiated repudiated the line that led us to join in on “Quebec Libre” chants at the Conference. An all-class nationalist offensive “against” the U.S. will not “be followed by” even a vague socialism. The working-class of the two nations (Canada, Quebec) must unite to overthrow the Anglo- and French-Canadian capitalists and their state, along with their U.S. overseers. We can have no unity with Quebec or Canadian bosses! Today, we are interested in building a Marxist-Leninist Party, and encouraging united action of workers against capitalism.
“Canadian Party of Labour” is a movement to build a Marxist-Leninist Party. Once we achieve an actual Party status, we want to take up the struggle for workers’ power and communism, long abandoned by the once-Communist Party of Canada. Our goal is the dictatorship of the proletariat (workers’ rule) in Canada and in Quebec.
Canadian workers have had a great tradition of powerful class struggle. Some examples in the past are: the Winnipeg General Strike of 1919; the battles in Estevan, Saskatchewan and Stratford, Ontario in 1933 of the Workers Unity League (affiliated to the Red International of Labour Unions), the Mine-Mill strike at Kirkland Lake (Ontario) in 1941, the Steelworkers strike in Hamilton (1946), the Asbestos strike in Quebec (1949), and the Newfoundland loggers’ strike (1959). Workers affiliated to the old Communist Party also fought well in the On-to-Ottawa of the unemployed (1935), and in the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion defending the people’s cause in Spain (1937- 39 ).
The international situation – the strength of socialist China, growth of proletarian movements in the West (especially France and Italy), and in the East (colonial revolutions – Vietnam, India, Palestine, etc.) – is a huge incentive to revolutionary development in Canada. Given the long tradition of militant class struggle and the sharpening contradictions at home – rising inflation, recession, wage-control and workers fighting back – a new working class movement against capitalism, for the socialist state, can be built. This is the task envisioned by the Canadian Party of Labour.
Capitalism has no future. We must fight the capitulators and compromisers who compose the “Left-wing” New Democratic Party and Parti Quebecois national-“Socialists”; plus their “C.” P., Trotskyite and “New Left” (even “Maoist”) hangers-on. The fight against capitalism must be uncompromising!