Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

In Struggle!

The CPC(ML): A Revisionist Organization of Agent-Provocateurs

Chapter 2: On the path of the revolution in Canada: bourgeois nationalism and class collaboration

“Mass democratic anti-imperialist revolution” – that’s how CPC(ML) perceives the path of the proletarian revolution in Canada. What does that mean? It means that supposedly we’re at the stage of the democratic revolution, which, so it would seem, the bourgeoisie in Canada never brought to completion. So since it denies that Canada is an imperialist country, and instead claims that the country is a US colony, CPC(ML) proposes to the “Canadian people” and to the national bourgeoisie (which, so it seems, is part of the Canadian masses) to embark on a national revolution for the “People’s Republic of Canada”, or, depending on the version you’re listening to, the “People’s Republic of Quebec”. In order to understand the logic of these astonishing – to say the least – proposals, let’s examine how CPC(ML) looks at, or rather tampers with, the history of Canada and its political economy.

A most peculiar vision of Canadian history...

“There has never been a successful bourgeois democratic revolution in Canada. The land question was resolved by the landlords who converted the feudal holdings of the seigneurs into the capitalist private property, and converted the peasants’ feudal obligations into cash debt which burdened them from 1854 until the 1940’s”.[1]

This quote is pretty revealing about CPC(ML)’s total lack of knowledge of historical events in Canada. Unfortunately, the real facts about the development of merchant capitalism, and consequently the first germs of industrial capitalism, interfere with CPC(ML)’s conception of Canada as a feudal society. And what is most important to bear in mind, is that the transformation of feudal ownership into private capitalist ownership was precisely, the economic basis of the bourgeois democratic revolution. It was on the basis of this economic transformation that national capital was formed. The bourgeoisie, whose members come from the most part from England, hitched their destiny to the development of national capitalism.

The contradiction with colonial domination came quickly, as effort upon effort was deployed to abort the development of manufacturing in Canada. The political struggle for “Responsible Government” in both Upper and Lower Canada was the political manifestation of this process of bourgeois revolution, which resulted, in 1867, in Confederation, the foundation of a politically independent State, even if this State was closely linked to British imperialism. Although the bourgeois democratic revolution was spaced out over many years, and although the Rebellion of 1837 was not immediately victorious, that in no way denies that a bourgeois democratic revolution took place in Canada. Nor do these events justify labeling Canada as a British colony, and certainly not as a US colony. But CPC(ML), blinded by its nationalism, prefers to substitute idealism for a materialist analysis of history.

“One of these sects, which qualifies itself as ’authentic Marxist-Leninist’, last year praised Confederation, saying that on July 1 ’Canada celebrated its 109th anniversary as an independent capitalist country’. Another sect wrote that Confederation signified ’the creation of an independent national State’... (Canada’s status as a colony, in the proper sense of the word, did not change with the establishment of the so-called Confederation.!...) Canada becoming a dominion with an autonomous government was not the end of its colonial status, but rather the realization of colonial status for Canada.”[2]

And what are these astounding revelations based on? Why did the British Empire so graciously accord the Canadian colony an autonomous government? Here’s where the conspiracy theory comes in! Qualifying Confederation as a “plan of British colonialism” and a “villainous plot of the British colonialists”, CPC(ML) states that Confederation “was made to serve the needs of the expansion of Anglo-Canadian colonialism throughout the entire territory.”[3] Afterwards, of course, all of the Canadian bourgeoisie’s actions to develop monopoly capitalism in Canada had – it goes without saying – no link whatsoever with the capitalist interests of a national bourgeoisie. These were simply deeds of Canadian puppets executing a plot devised by those big bad foreign imperialists.

“In 1885, the Canadian government, as an agent for English capitalism, conquered and stole the Canadian prairies from the Metis and Amerindian people; it plundered their lands, built the Canadian Pacific Railway from the Atlantic to the Pacific, procured a few canals, a new harbour in Montreal, some skilled workers, a few factories, and the establishment of an agricultural population”.

All this, of course, was for the pleasure of His Majesty, the King of England! Perhaps those clever thinkers in the CPC(ML) could tell us why the British colonial capitalists, who had spared no efforts in limiting the development of industrial development in Canada would, all of a sudden, plunge into establishing and consolidating a national Canadian market and conquering the “Far West”? Why, after having always considered the British colonies in Canada as a place where British industry could plunder freely; as a captive market for its goods manufactured in England and sold here at increased prices; why then did the English capitalists suddenly do an about face and decide that they were going to develop industrial capitalism in Canada? And why did British capitalism become involved in consolidating a capitalist competitor, which, less than 60 years later, at the end of the 1939-45 war, was able to equal, and, later, even surpass it?

In fact, history, as told to us by CPC(ML), is just a vulgar attempt to try and hide the fact that the conquest of the West, the genocide of the Native peoples, the construction of large-scale communication systems, the recruitment of skilled labour, the construction of factories and the establishment of an agricultural population completely eliminated the last shackles of a heritage of colonial laws and semi-feudalism. All these actions were first and foremost aimed at laying the economic bases for a Canadian bourgeoisie. And this bourgeoisie quickly understood that to offset its relative weakness it would have to do double time in working for concentration and monopolization. Furthermore, if the British bourgeoisie was obliged to accept the development of Canadian capitalism, this was due to the fact that the new Canadian bourgeoisie grew stronger, and, was therefore able to gradually impose on British colonialism an independent national State in Canada. Fearful of the repetition of revolutionary events such as the 1837 rebellion and mindful of the increasing threat that the American Republic posed to its colonies, English imperialism preferred to cooperate with the new Canadian bourgeoisie rather than risk losing everything. And for the Canadian bourgeoisie, despite the inherent compromises, the “peaceful” process of independence allowed it to begin the internal consolidation of its national market from the east to the west, something of a real challenge. As well, the Canadian bourgeoisie could profit from British imperialism’s military and economic umbrella to protect it from the expansionist and even military ambitions of the US. That’s the real history of the bourgeois democratic revolution in Canada, which no amount of CPC(ML)’s vulgar lies can change!

Negating Canadian imperialism

Yet wasn’t the monopolization of Canadian banks, under the friendly eye of the bourgeois State, the basis of Canadian finance. But instead of wasting more paper on this point, let’s move on and see what the next scene of this musical comedy has to offer...

“Without exception, Canadian banks are agents for foreign finance capital. Among the services which they offer to foreign finance capital we find the power to accumulate the masses of capital from the Canadian market, establish themselves in a position of hegemony over small producers and middle-sized capitalists, and establish close links with the State so as to serve the dominant groups of finance capital controlled from outside the country by those who lend them money, etc. This is how Canadian banks serve the banks of the superpowers.”[4]

In short, all these activities, typical of finance capital, are simply there to “render service” to that great master, the US superpower. There’s just one little “hitch” in this touching portrait of the “Canadian colony”.

As Lenin explains:

“As banking develops and becomes concentrated in a small number of establishments, the banks grow from modest middlemen into powerful monopolies having at their command almost the whole of the money capital of all the capitalists and small businessmen and also the larger part of the means of production and sources of raw materials in any one country and in a number of countries. This transformation of numerous modest middlemen into a handful of monopolists is one of the fundamental processes in the growth of capitalism into capitalist imperialism”.[5]

So, contrary to what CPC(ML) says, Canadian banks are not simple intermediaries at the beck and call of the superpowers. Rather, they are extremely concentrated monopolies whose Canadian ownership is guaranteed by the bourgeois State which prohibits any takeover of a Canadian bank by a foreign financial institution. According to the Canadian economist Wallace Clement[6], almost 100% of banking capital, and more than 80% of the financial sector (banks, insurance companies, finance companies, etc.) are under Canadian control. This is the main bastion of Canadian imperialism. And if CPC(ML) doesn’t agree, well, it’s just one more example of its distortions of reality and revision of Marxism-Leninism.

“The monopolist ownership of the main production centres has been totally amalgamated, merged with the owners of banks, insurance companies and trusts which are all monopolized, as well as with other Canadian financial institutions. The merger of these two groups forms the financial oligarchy which dominates all economic life in Canada. But the characteristic trait of this leading financial oligarchy is that its most important sectors belong to American finance capitalists, to American imperialism... In practice, the United States has annexed Canada.”[7]

Clearly, the CPC(ML) cannot deny that Canada is dominated by monopolies, or that a finance bourgeoisie, formed from banking and industrial capital, exists in Canada. Nor can it deny the evidence that this finance bourgeoisie exports capital. These are empirical realities that even bourgeois economists and politicians recognize. So in order to avoid pushing these facts to their logical conclusion, which is that capitalism in Canada has reached its imperialist stage, CPC(ML) is obliged to revise Marxism-Leninism – in this case, the links between economy and politics. But this isn’t the first time that communists have bumped into petty-bourgeois dream peddlers behind the mask of “Marxism” desperately trying to oppose Marxism and reduce it to a caricature. Lenin dealt with such people who believed economic domination by an imperialist country quite simply meant annexation.

“Kievesky was probably led astray here by the fact (besides his general lack of understanding of the requirements of economic analysis) that the philistine regards annexation (i.e., acquisition of foreign territories against the will of their people, i.e., violation of self-determination) as equivalent to the “spread” (expansion) of finance capital to a larger economic territory.

“But theoretical problems should not be approached from philistine conceptions.

“Economically, imperialism is monopoly capitalism. To acquire full monopoly, all competition must be eliminated, and not only on the home market (of the given state), but also on foreign markets, in the whole world. It is economically possible, ’in the era of finance capital’, to eliminate competition even in a foreign state? Certainly it is. It is done through a rival’s financial dependence and acquisition of his sources of raw materials and eventually of all this enterprises.

“The American trusts are the supreme expression of the economics of imperialism or monopoly capitalism. They do not confine themselves to economic means of eliminating rivals, hut constantly resort to political, even criminal, methods. It would be the greatest mistake, however, to believe that the trusts cannot establish their monopoly by purely economic methods. Reality provides ample proof that this is ’achievable’: the trusts undermine their rivals, credit through the banks (the owners of the trusts become the owners of the banks, buying up shares); their supply of materials (the owners of the trusts become the owners of the railways: buying up shares): for a certain time, the trusts sell below cost, spending millions on this in order to ruin a competitor and then buy up his enterprises, his sources of raw materials (mines, land, etc.).

“There you have a purely economic analysis of the power of the trusts and their expansion. There you have the purely economic path to expansion: buying up mills and factories, sources of raw materials.

“Big finance capital of one country can always buy up competitors in another, politically independent country and constantly does so. Economically, this is fully achievable. Economic ’annexation’ is fully ’achievable’ without political annexation and is widely practised.”[8]

Petty-bourgeois notions, a caricature of Marxism – sounds like he was talking about CPC(ML). But it isn’t enough for these professional myth-makers to revise Marxism-Leninism. For reality, as we know, is hard-headed and continually tends to confirm the scientific truth of Marxism-Leninism. And that’s why CPC(ML) has to work at twisting facts and distorting reality, or more precisely, distorting the history of and distorting reality, or more precisely, distorting the history of Canada in its attempt to prove that the Canadian State is an annexed State. This is a vital question for CPC(ML): since the history of the development of capitalism in Canada, and especially the formation of a Canadian imperialist finance bourgeoisie, is inseparably linked to the role of the Canadian State, CPC(ML) has to constantly resort to lying in its attempt to prove that the bourgeois revolution in Canada never took place and that bourgeois politicians are agents of foreign imperialism and not representatives of the Canadian national bourgeoisie.

Thus holding fast to a bourgeois view which sees history as a series of plots and intrigues organized by famous people, CPC(ML) rewrote Canadian history. They present this history as a puppet show, with the strings held consecutively by England and the United States.

We could spend weeks listening to “Granddaddy Bains” telling the story of the big bad foreign imperialists and the “poor Canadian lackeys”. We could hear about that terrifying scene when Rockefeller manoeuvres comprador agent Mackenzie King (Prime Minister from 1921-1930 and 1935-1948 and master architect of Canadian imperialism during the Second World War) against “the comprador agent of English imperialism”, Arthur Meighen.

“During the peak of British imperialism’s power, US imperialism began cultivating its most useful agent in Canadian politics, William Lyon Mackenzie King. This man had been personally educated by Rockefeller and played a key role in Canada’s transition from under the political hegemony of England to the political hegemony of the US in 1925”.[9]

We could also contemplate all the revisionist originality of the Third Congress’ thesis that ”with the onset of the general crisis of capitalism during and after World War I, state monopoly capitalism has emerged as an all-embracing feature of the economic system”.[10] For those of you, who, like ourselves, have just discovered this new concept of ”an all-embracing feature” let us hasten to specify that it means that monopoly capitalism in Canada is an import from abroad which has superimposed itself on national capitalism and a national bourgeoisie which greeted it with open arms, since it, too, was a victim of big foreign capitalists.

“In Canada, US imperialism permeates and dominates every aspect of society. The big bourgeoisie, a most reactionary, traitorous and sell-out bourgeoisie is largely composed of US imperialists. They dictate the policy of the Canadian state... The social system in Canada is a foreign dependent capitalist system with US monopolies imposed on it”.[11]

We could go on for quite a while with this grim comedy, but maybe it’s a better idea to go right to the last act.

From ultra-nationalism to ultra-imperialism

“The Canadian State is a state of the rich, a state of the foreign imperialists. It is a sold-out state which represses the majority of the people”.[12]

“Canada is a debtor-state, while the United States are a usurer-state. Canada is a weak nation while the United States is an imperialist superpower. The revisionists (Communist Party of Canada), the Trotskyists, and the anarcho-fascists (IN STRUGGLE! and the “Communist” League) all mystify and confuse the fundamental distinction between the Canadian State and the American State ... Because the social system in Canada is monopoly capitalism, this leads the opportunists to advocate the counter-revolutionary thesis that the Canadian State is imperialist and that Canada is an imperialist power. Further, they base their theory on the erroneous point of view of Canadian history: that Canada “acquired” its “independence in 1867”.[13]

Here again the quotes outline the basically revisionist and ultra-nationalist line of CPC(ML). The big fish eat the little ones, that’s all. Imperialism is the domination by a few usurer-States. Canada is a debtor country, a weak country, so it can’t be imperialist. And the US which is a superpower dominates Canada. So Canada isn’t an independent country. And to make quite sure that there’s no ambiguity on the question, CPC(ML) takes pains to underline that it is counterrevolutionary to advocate that the Canadian State is imperialist!

CPC(ML)’s thesis that “... the central feature of capitalism today is the domination over all capitals by financial capital, the domination of the superpowers, the few giant imperialist creditor countries over the weak and small capitalist countries – agrarian or industrial” (14) is a vulgar revision of the Leninist theory of imperialism. Quoting Lenin who describes the fact that on the international scale, as one of the consequences of imperialism, imperialist countries act as creditor-States with regard to other countries, that is, that the class of finance capitalists of the imperialist countries live off the super-profits which they make by exporting capital to other countries, the CPC(ML) reduces imperialism to this sole characteristic, falsifying the very significance if imperialism.

First, let us say that the formation of finance capital is indissociable from the formation of monopolies, both in industry and in banking, and the merger of the capital of the large monopoly banks with the capital of monopoly industrial groups. It is the historical formation of the resulting finance capital which determines if a country has reached the imperialist stage. A “usurer-State” simply means a State characterized by an extreme concentration of capital and by an immense accumulation of money capital. It also means that the finance bourgeoisie owning this capital will try and invest it in other countries, particularly in the colonies where the working class, exploited to the hilt, is a source of super-profits for the financier. The usurer, creditor, or stockholder State is thus an imperialist State where the finance bourgeoisie lives like a parasite, “by cutting coupons”, and profiting from the super-profits collected in the “debtor countries” devoid of finance capital and completely dependent on foreign capital. Of course each imperialist country also exports capital to other imperialist countries so as to broaden its markets, benefit from sources of raw materials and profit from the exploitation of the workers of those countries. But far from eliminating rivalries between imperialist countries, as CPC(ML) claims, far from transforming the weaker capitalist countries into colonies and debtor countries completely at the mercy of the domination of the creditor countries which are reduced to just the superpowers, the struggle for economic domination only sharpens the political rivalries between the imperialist States which each represent the imperialist interests of their national bourgeoisie. CPC(ML)’s ultra-nationalist position which sees only the domination of big nations over the little ones everywhere, leads this revisionist group to adhere to the thesis of ultra-imperialism – the conception of a single world imperialism or, at the very least, imperialism reduced to a few great powers who have, you might say, annexed the weaker imperialist countries. CPC(ML) pretends to demarcate from the Trotskyists on the question of the revolutionary character of the national liberation struggles in the colonies and ends up justifying a rejection of socialist revolution. In the very same way, it pretends to demarcate from Kautsky’s conception of ultra-imperialism which states that the alliance between imperialist bourgeoisies means the suppression of inter-imperialist rivalries. In point of fact, CPC(ML) takes up this same thesis by pretending that inter-imperialist rivalry doesn’t exist, especially the rivalry between the superpowers and the others imperialist countries, adding that such an alliance is impossible and that the relations between a superpower and another weaker imperialist country can only be relations of subjugation, the total domination of one over the other. But whether it is based on “absolute alliance” or “absolute domination”, the conception of ultra-imperialism leads to the same political conclusion: separating the struggle against imperialism, against “the politics of absolute alliance” or of “absolute domination”, from the struggle against capitalism, against the bourgeoisie. In other words it leads to making an alliance with one’s “own” national imperialist bourgeoisie to wage the national struggle against the danger of international “super-imperialism”!

Here we must point out that after using the notion of creditor-State and debtor-State to deform the Leninist theory of imperialism, CPC(ML) was also obliged to falsify the very definitions of creditor-State and debtor-State so as to be able to prove that Canada is not an imperialist country but a colony. While the analogy with creditors and debtors refers specifically to the exportation of capital, CPC(ML) has reduced it to the question of public debt.

“Lenin wrote, ’The world is now divided between a handful of usurer-States and a vast majority of debtors-States’. The main instrument for indebting dependent countries is a vast system of State loans. (...) And what characterizes the economy of the Canadian State (including the provincial government)? They are massively in debt”.[14]

And CPC(ML) goes on to list a series of examples taken from the budgets of the Federal government, Hydro-Quebec – which is involved in a $14 billion project at James Bay, and other crown corporations. But in fact, what does the CPC(ML)’s supposedly unchallengeable argument mean if not that the Canadian State, like all other capitalist and imperialist States, including the American State, control, in the name of the whole bourgeoisie, a certain number of monopolies and institutions financed by the finance bourgeoisie which draws profits from the labour of the working class? If we were to follow CPC(ML)’s demagogy we would have to conclude that the American State is a debtor-State because to finance the buying of its B-52’s, its bombs and its napalm, Washington had to borrow on the financial market just like the private monopolies such as General Motors, or corporations like Hydro-Quebec. To reduce imperialism to a process of State loans and stock market transactions is an incredible put-on which even the most anti-Marxist bourgeois economist wouldn’t dare use.

This deformation of Marxism-Leninism leads to a negation of the class character of the State as the representative of bourgeois order and of the bourgeoisie. Just because a monopoly group finances the State, suddenly the State has become the simple servant of this financial group. And if the public debt is financed on the markets of London or New York, well, automatically this so-called debtor-State has become a political colony of Great Britain or the United States. It’s pretty difficult to find a more extreme example of the petty-bourgeois vision of imperialism.

Tampering with Canadian political economy: when the robber becomes the robbed

For the CPC(ML), imperialism is not a stage in the development of capitalism, a stage which arrives in a given country when the monopolies become the dominant economic characteristic and when finance capital, exported to other countries, becomes the basis for the imperialist pillage of nations. No! For the CPC(ML), which only sees imperialism as being domination by the biggest nations, all that is important is the massive presence of US imperialism in Canada. So what if the Canadian bourgeoisie exports capital and is devoted to imperialist pillage. Sympathetic to “our” “poor” and “weak” monopoly bourgeoisie which has to arrange things with the US imperialist bourgeoisie, the CPC(ML) prefers to transform the robber into the robbed, prefers to transform Canadian imperialism into a colony. On the basis of the Political Resolution of the Third Congress of the CPC(ML), held in 1977, let’s take a closer look at how the CPC(ML)’s ultra-nationalism implies that the Canadian imperialist bourgeoisie is dissolved into a foreign international bourgeoisie, which dominates the “poor” Canadian “colony”.

“Besides Canada being one of the world’s biggest debtor countries, it has also become a net exporter of capital in direct investments abroad since 1973. Canada competes with the US for markets and privileges, but this competition does not alter the fact that many of the companies competing are actually branch plants of US imperialism. Secondly, this is a contradiction within the camp of US imperialism and the Canadian monopoly capitalist class – that is, amongst monopolies. The big bourgeoisie in Canada – the Canadian monopoly capitalists and those monopoly capitalists who are a mere extension of the US imperialists – is the base for US imperialist domination of Canada. At the same time, the Canadian State is a base for exploitation and plunder on the world scale by a section of the international imperialist bourgeoisie. The fact that the Canadian State is an oppressor stale does not mean that it is not a dominated state.”[15]

Really, CPC(ML) has become a master in the art of mystification because this list of lame arguments hides the heart of the matter and tries to turn the robber into the robbed. We have already seen how the contention that Canada is “one of the largest debtor countries in the world” is nothing more than a manoeuvre to try and make Canada fit into the comparative portrait which Lenin drew between creditor imperialist countries and dependent capitalist countries who are debtors on the financial level. But here the CPC(ML) is forced to admit that not only is Canada a country which exports finance capital as its activities of imperialist plunder clearly show, but also that it is a “net exporter of capital in direct investments abroad”.

And despite everything, concerning the “debtor” characteristic of Canada, the CPC(ML) is forced to reveal its own hoax because it’s basically a question of Canadian State loans, and thus of capital controlled by the Canadian bourgeoisie. “The import of capital into Canada for investment in stocks, bonds, and debentures, has skyrocketed especially in the last three years. The largest part of this increasing import of foreign, mainly US, finance capital, into Canada has been in debt issued by the various levels of government and by government run enterprises. At the same time the US imperialists have cut their capital exports for direct investment in plant and equipment in Canada by 50% in the last three years. As well the big bourgeoisie in Canada, in pursuit of maximum profit, exports capital for direct investment abroad, capital created through the exploitation and plunder of the land and labour of the Canadian working class and people”.

What does that mean if not that the imperialist activity of Canada increases daily with the sharpening of inter-imperialist rivalries between imperialist powers on the lookout for super-profits. But CPC(ML) thinks that all that’s just “peanuts” because “The net imports of finance capital for stocks, bonds, and debentures exceeds by several times the net export of capital for direct investment”. And so, with a wave of its magic wand, the CPC(ML) has transformed “our poor Canada” into an unfortunate “debtor country,” “like a colony”.[16]

CPC(ML)’s arguments are wrong in two ways. Other than the fact that comparing the importation of portfolio capital (bonds) with the exportation of direct investment capital, while forgetting that Canada also exports portfolio capital, is like comparing tomatoes and potatoes, CPC(ML) forgets, and this is what is determinant, that when the Canadian bourgeois State goes borrowing on American markets, it doesn’t do so because of Jimmy Carter’s whiter than white smile, but rather to finance the imperialist activities of the Canadian monopoly bourgeoisie which controls State power. Of course these State loans from New York, London, Frankfort, Tokyo and the like create dependencies in relation to other imperialist powers, above all the United States. But then the general rule of imperialism is precisely the formation of an entire network of alliances and financial dominations which is extremely complex. This doesn’t, however, transform rapacious imperialists into “poor little lambs”, victims of the “nasty wolf”.

The reality is that the Canadian bourgeoisie has continually used the State as a lever for its formation and consolidation as an imperialist bourgeoisie. Canada is a relatively under-populated country, which was only able to raise itself to the rank of a great western imperialist power by exporting capital to key places to increase its super-profits and to participate in the imperialist division of the world, while relying on the Canadian bourgeois State to finance large investment projects in the fields of communication and energy.

Think of the transcontinental railway, the St. Lawrence Seaway, the James Bay hydro-electric project or the Mackenzie pipeline, to name but a few examples. The Canadian bourgeoisie does not have the mass of capital necessary to finance such projects which are essential to its own imperialist development. That is why it teamed up with US imperialism for whom these resources are just as necessary. State loans are but one side of the numerous relations established during State to State negotiations which allow the Canadian bourgeoisie to use foreign capital to profit its own political development. As we recently wrote:

“The Canadian bourgeoisie saw, in the penetration of US capital, an occasion to profit from the exploitation of the natural resources which by itself it was not able to set up, and to acquire “valuable American dollars” which would indirectly aid it in financing its own expansion throughout the world. In allowing US investments to little by little control certain sectors of our economy, it was able to triple its direct foreign investments between 1946 and 1958. and double its portfolio investments (loans, bonds, etc.).[17]

In CPC(ML)’s fairy tale, the American “Goliath” smashes the Canadian “David”. The truth of the matter however is that Canadian imperialism, incapable of meeting the giant head-on, preferred to join up with him and fashion a reactionary imperialist alliance paid for by the Canadian working class and the peoples of the world. In this way, by allying with US imperialism, the Canadian bourgeoisie found a way of developing its own imperialist activity. But CPC(ML) can’t deal with this reality because it means that the principal enemy in Canada is quite definitely the Canadian bourgeoisie and that the path of progress in Canada is socialist revolution against the national bourgeoisie in Canada, socialist revolution that will, in the same blow, throw all foreign imperialists out of Canada. But for the revisionists of the CPC(ML) that reality is intolerable since they have devoted their entire existence to giving Canadian imperialism a facelift and opposing its overthrow. And that is why it has to deform reality and the revolutionary theory of the proletariat.

“Canada competes with the US for markets and privileges, but this competition does not alter the fact that many of the companies competing are actually branch plants of US imperialism”.

Bravo Mr. Bains! Now isn’t that a great economic “discovery”! And just what does it prove? Why, nothing! Since there are branch plants of large foreign companies in Canada (as there are in France, Germany, England, Italy...), it’s clear that these companies will also try to export their products. But the reason that the CPC(ML) has come up with this “prize of an analysis”, is that it is trying to hide a few embarrassing truths, for example, that direct investments from Canada abroad are the product of capital owned and controlled by Canadian financiers. For example, in 1973, 79% of Canadian capital invested abroad was invested by Canadian residents. And we might add, to corroborate CPC(ML)’s “discovery” and to pardon its unhappy habit of “forgetting” statistics which it doesn’t like, that Don Jamieson, Minister for External Affairs, during one of his recent “promotion trips” to Brazil, negotiated a series of trade agreements with Ernesto Geisel, the head of the bloody military junta in Brazil, including one dealing with the export of Canadian coal exploited by an American company. What must we conclude from that? That Canada is a comprador State? Not al all. Jamieson went to Brazil first and foremost to defend the interests of Canadian imperialists who are doing a roaring business super-exploiting Brazilian workers. But at the same time, the Canadian bourgeois State practices a policy compatible with its alliance with US imperialism, trying to pull the chestnuts out of the fire.

But the conclusion drawn by CPC(ML) is quite different, and it tries to dish out another one of its specialties by serving things upside down. For CPC(ML) “this is a contradiction in the camp of US imperialism and the Canadian monopoly capitalist class – that is, amongst monopolies”. In short, it’s an inter-imperialist contradiction, because as Lenin said “Imperialism is monopoly capitalism”. (8) But of course that isn’t CPC(ML)’s conclusion. No, hold your breath! We’ve now come to the moment when that great magician Bains pulls the rabbit out of his big revisionist hat...

“The big bourgeoisie in Canada – the Canadian monopoly capitalists and those monopoly capitalists who are a mere extension of the US imperialists – is the base for US imperialist domination of Canada”.

But what does this great new “find” mean? That foreign imperialism in Canada oppresses and exploits Canadian workers because the Canadian imperialist bourgeoisie maintains its dictatorship and perpetuates wage slavery – something which we are in complete agreement with? No, what the CPC(ML) really means is that “the Canadian state is a base for exploitation and plunder on the world scale by a section of the international imperialist bourgeoisie” (15) (our emphasis). But what’s happened to the Canadian imperialist bourgeoisie in all of this? Disappeared! Gone up in smoke and replaced by a new international personage, which is, foreign – “the international imperialist bourgeoisie”. And there we have our “super-imperialism” directly emanating from the brain of the “ultra-nationalist” and “ultra-internationalist” Chairman Bains! And now for the denouement in the following sentence:

“The fact that the Canadian state is an oppressor state does not mean that Canada is not a dominated state.” After this brilliant lesson in revisionist political economy, Chairman Bains has the right to sing his heart out to that old refrain so familiar to us all:

“The Third Congress advocates that Canada is like a colony, its capitalism is a dependent capitalism and its state is dominated by US imperialism.”

As we recently wrote:

“The key idea of the nationalists is to pretend that the ’dependence’ of a less powerful imperialist bourgeoisie on another power or superpower suffices to categorize this country as a “colony”. Between this and elevating the “national question” or national liberation to first place in one’s revolutionary strategy, there is but one step. The nationalists look at imperialist relations from the point of view of the bourgeoisie instead of that of the proletariat and socialist revolution. And so, they consider the dependence of an imperialist bourgeoisie as a problem to be resolved through a national struggle rather than through the class struggle of the proletariat against imperialist bourgeoisies, including and beginning with the struggle against the imperialist bourgeoisie in its own country. These people refuse to understand that the law of the uneven development of imperialism produces inevitably an entire system of dependence and domination among the imperialist countries themselves.”[18]

The path of counter-revolution

“Canada is a neo-colonial nation no less than any other subject nation in Africa or Latin America”.[19]

“The Canadian Communist Movement (ML) (the forerunner of CPC(ML) – editor’s note) fights for the working class’ interest and is preparing for a revolutionary civil war against US imperialism and its Canadian agents for establishing the People’s Republic of Canada”.[20]

“The stage is now set for the further development of the anti-imperialist revolution of the Canadian working class and people, which is mass democratic inform and anti-imperialist in content, and which is a necessary stage before the establishment of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat.”[21]

“Canada is a capitalist country under the complete domination of US imperialism and its lackeys, the Canadian compradors. The Canadian compradors have completely submitted to the interests of the US imperialists, and run the economics, politics and culture of their country for the sole purpose of serving their masters. The Government of Canada under Trudeau, as well as his predecessors, has been, and is, the government of national betrayal. In the respect Canada can be called a neo-colony of the US imperialists.”[22]

“We must avoid the ’left’ error of one-step revolution, ...the revolution is at the mass democratic anti-imperialist stage.”[23]

“The basic programme of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) is to complete the mass democratic anti-imperialist revolution, whereby the first stage towards the total overthrow of the bourgeoisie and all other exploiting classes will be accomplished.”[24]

“The main contradiction in Canada is between US imperialism and its lackeys, the Canadian monopoly capitalist class, on the one hand and the Canadian people on the other hand.”[25]

“The Third Congress advocates that Canada is like a colony, its capitalism is a dependent capitalism and its state is dominated by US imperialism.”

This series of quotes, drawn from texts spaced out over CPC(ML)’s history, clearly confirm that CPC(ML)’s strategic line has not changed one iota, despite the successive costume changes the group has fashioned for it since its origins. Since it considers Canada to be a neo-colony, CPC(ML) puts forward a parody of the line adopted during the Chinese Revolution, a two-stage revolution. The first stage consists of an alliance with the “patriotic” elements of the bourgeoisie so as to complete the bourgeoisie democratic revolution. But as we have already seen, the bourgeois democratic revolution has clearly been accomplished here in Canada, and this, a long time ago.

In Canada, the bourgeoisie has no longer any progressive role to play. This bourgeoisie, which yesterday fought against British colonialism, has today become a monopoly bourgeoisie which encourages the growth of all that is reactionary in Canada and participates with other imperialist bourgeoisies, especially the United States, in the domination of the world. In that context, the CPC(ML)’s so-called “democratic revolution” is nothing more than a desperate attempt to try and divert the masses away from socialist revolution and the struggle against the principal enemy, the Canadian bourgeoisie which holds State power in Canada.

Qualifying the Canadian bourgeoisie as a “traitor” when it seeks to defend its own imperialist interests in its alliance with US imperialism comes down to criticizing the Canadian monopoly bourgeoisie because it is not “independent” enough with regard to US imperialism. Now, just what does it mean for an imperialist bourgeoisie to be more “independent” if not to give it free rein to use any means to achieve its hegemonic aims? When you ask a wolf to be more “independent”, you’re asking it to increase its voracity so that it can impose itself as leader of the pack by force.

CPC(ML)’s path of revolution is in reality the path of counterrevolution. It is counter-revolutionary primarily because it actively opposes the immediate preparation for the socialist revolution, a revolution which is the only way to put an end to the imperialist of “our” own bourgeoisie. And counter-revolutionary, secondly because the so-called democratic revolution advocated by CPC(ML) can only mean lining the Canadian working class up behind the most chauvinist aspirations of Canadian imperialism.

CPC(ML)’s so-called “anti-imperialist” revolution is nothing more than collaboration with Canadian imperialism in a reactionary nationalist struggle against other imperialist powers. CPC(ML)’s “patriotism” and its phoney “revolution” are yet another revisionist project aimed at pushing the working class to support its own bourgeoisie, at reforming capitalism in crisis, and at putting an end to the immediate and revolutionary struggles of workers. But what is really hidden behind the slogans of saving the “threatened homeland” which has been ravaged by foreigners, or of involving the “Nation” in a national effort to assure “our” country of a competitive position on the world market and even taking part in a military adventure to assure the “dignity” of the “homeland”? Behind all the nuances, we find the pseudo-revolutionary talk of the Canadian revisionists. And with CPC(ML), this talk is even all the more dangerous since it is based on the very negation of the imperialist nature of Canada, and in the most demagogic fashion imaginable, refers to Mao Tse-tung’s theses on New Democracy and the path followed by the Communist Party of China in a colonial situation which is diametrically opposed to the situation of imperialist Canada.

To all this type of criticism the CPC(ML) replies that it is just a pack of lies and insinuations...

“It is crystal clear to everyone that the mass democratic anti-imperialist revolution CPC(ML) is talking about is proletarian revolution and not what EN LUTTE! slander-mongers claim ... How can there he advocacy of ’two-stage’ revolution when CPC(ML) is calling for the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat in place of the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie during ’the first stage’.”

“CPC(ML) never spoke of a national liberation struggle for Canada but rather of an ANTI-IMPERIALIST SOCIALIST struggle. What CPC(ML) says is that the nationalist anti-imperialist struggle in Canada will be socialist because it will be led and dominated by the working class (and that is so because of the stage of development of capitalism in Canada and because of the domination of the monopolists). The end of the reign of the foreign imperialists and their Canadian monopolist lackeys will be marked by the establishment of a democracy of a new socialist type, i.e., placed under the leadership of a state in the hands of the proletariat. This socialist democracy will progressively lead to the complete elimination of capitalist forms which even after the anti-imperialist and anti-monopolist revolution will have remained with the intermediary strata situated between the proletariat and all the enemies of the united front”.[26]

Quite clearly these mystifiers take workers and Marxist-Leninists for a bunch of imbeciles! The CPC(ML) shouts from the rooftops that it’s the real, authentic, and sole Marxist-Leninist party, because white is also black and vice-versa, as everyone knows. And the two-stage struggle doesn’t have two stages. The national liberation struggle is not a national liberation struggle, but rather an anti-imperialist struggle, and the anti-imperialist struggle isn’t an anti-imperialist struggle, but rather a socialist anti-imperialist struggle, etc. So there is no question but that CPC(ML) is for proletarian revolution. It’s crystal clear, since it’s the proletariat which is going to lead the anti-monopolist “revolution” which is an anti-imperialist national struggle, and which quite evidently is socialism itself... In any case, nothing to get upset about since:

“... the declaration that the ’only revolutionary way’ is from the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie to the dictatorship of the proletariat is only true as a universal statement, for the era of imperialism is the eve of proletarian revolution. What does it mean to say that the ’proletarian revolution cannot be made in two or more stages’? The world historic process of proletarian revolution goes through many stages in a spiral-like motion. Canada is part of the world movement and within Canada too there are many stages, steps, advances, and through this anti-imperialist revolution, the dictatorship of the proletariat is established!”[27]

You’d think you were listening to William Kashtan of the “Communist” Party of Canada declaring “I’m all for”... the dictatorship of the proletariat... and the struggle against the monopolies and for a ’truly independent’ and ’truly democratic’ Canada is precisely the best way to achieve socialism – Something which everybody wants, of course!”

So it should come as no surprise that those for whom the dictatorship of the proletariat is nothing more than a general principle, good for sprinkling here and there in a speech, have no qualms about revising the Leninist conception of the State.

Falsifying the Leninist theory of the State

“But the particular conditions of Canada are that US imperialism is the main plunderer of the Canadian proletariat, and precisely because imperialism is the era of domination of a few creditor countries over the vast majority of debtor countries, the exploitation and oppression extends far beyond the proletariat and forces various classes and strata to fight the common enemy alongside the proletariat. The historical task in Canada is to lead the proletariat to build a mighty united front against the monopoly capitalist class which in Canada serves US imperialism and is really the operating extension of US finance capital right within Canada. For MREQ to say that ’Canadian monopoly capitalism is closely linked with US monopoly capitalism’ completely distorts the nature of imperialism, of finance capital. Imperialism doesn’t link; it dominates. It exercises hegemony and tries to train (sic, should be “turn”) what appears to be a ’partnership’ into aggressive dominance. The big bully the small, the strong dominate the weak, simply that.”[28]

This long quote which reveals the true impact of the CPC(ML)’s bourgeois nationalist conception is at the same time a revisionist catechism which could make the “Communist” Party of Canada and its Soviet political thinkers blush with envy! An anti-monopolist united front, grouping together different classes and strata to throw the all-powerful US imperialist power out of Canada. Wow! All that’s missing is a call for the State to nationalize American companies. Or is it? For that, too, is part of the CPC(ML)’s line. And during the United Aircraft strike, it hollered for the nationalization of that company as a way of defending the national economy against foreign imperialist pillage.[29]

But let’s take time out to examine the “theoretical” basis of CPC(ML)’s arguments. First, what is imperialism? It is the domination of a few creditor countries over the vast majority of debtor States. And what is the Canadian monopoly bourgeoisie? The extension of American finance capital in Canada. Can we talk about imperialist alliances? No! The strong dominate the weak, and that’s that, answers CPC(ML). But what’s become of the Canadian State in all this?

“The Third Congress of CPC(ML) considers the Canadian state to be part and parcel of the world imperialist system of states – it is an oppressor state. At the same time, the Third Congress advocates that Canada is like a colony: its capitalism is a dependent capitalism and its state dominated by US imperialism.”

For those of you who might be a little flabbergasted by this “new development” of Marxism-Leninism under the guiding hand of Chairman Bains, the CPC(ML) takes care to add:

“The opportunists have great difficulty grasping this as their dogmas do not fit with the realities of Canada.”

Must we point out that the “dogmas” in question are nothing less than the principles of Marxist-Leninist theory on the State?

To understand all these pirouettes, you have to know that lately CPC(ML) have been confronted with a problem. It is essential for this revisionist group, which is being increasingly unmasked among the Canadian masses, to give itself a new image so that it can continue sabotaging the struggle already underway to rebuild a genuine communist party in Canada. As well, after having spent years hiding behind the revolutionary prestige of China and Mao Tse-tung, CPC(ML) has now set its sights on Albania. And that poses a problem, because the Party of Labour of Albania knows all too well that Canada isn’t a colony, that it’s an imperialist country. And this, of course, runs in complete opposition to CPC(ML)’s bourgeois nationalist line. It’s interesting to note that the recognition of Canada as an imperialist country is a well established position in the international communist movement, The Communist International and, indeed, the Communist Party of Canada itself, clearly put forward this position in the thirties. So CPC(ML), opportunist to the core, had to invent some new concepts to adapt Marxism-Leninism to suit its bourgeois line. The game was to find a magic formula which would allow them to put the word “imperialist” not too far away from the word “Canada” without, of course, advancing that Canada was in fact an imperialist country. So it came up with “an imperialist colony”. Better yet, the CPC(ML) has just invented a new revisionist theory, the theory of the “oppressor State”, which allows it to spare the Canadian imperialist bourgeoisie by hiding the class character of the State. Oppressor State: just what does that mean? Is there any world, be it a fourth or fifth, or maybe we’re talking about a new planet – where the State is not an oppressor State? Would it be something like the State of everybody for everybody, which oppresses nobody, “a new democratic State”[30]? The “State of the whole people”, perhaps?

In reality this thesis is a complete revision of the Leninist theory of the State. It is a falsification which is fundamentally the same as the falsification of the Khrushchevite revisionists and the social-democrats. Marxism-Leninism teaches us that the State is always an oppressor State, and it will always be so until the State no longer exists. The State is, fundamentally, always the instrument of the dictatorship of one class over another, an instrument which will only disappear with the extinction of classes – in a communist society. Under capitalism, the State is the instrument of oppression of the bourgeois minority over the majority of the people. With the socialist revolution, the State allows the greatest democracy for the working class but will still be an instrument for the oppression of the bourgeois minority bent on counterrevolution to re-establish its privileges. That’s why to state that Canada is an “oppressor State” is either to state something which is common knowledge or else a big put-on. And in this case we are no doubt dealing with a falsification of Marxism-Leninism which tries to make believe that the Canadian bourgeois State is a servile instrument of oppression for US imperialism in Canada. In short, there’s no national State since “Canada is like a colony”, a mirror of US economic domination in Canada.

The CPC(ML)’s magic formula which reads: “The Canadian State is an integral part of the world imperialist system of States” is a smokescreen to hide its reactionary line, because in reality, all States, except the socialist countries which have been freed from the world imperialist chain, are “an integral part of the world imperialist system of States”. It is precisely one of the characteristics of imperialism that it has achieved the division of the world into zones of influence under the hegemony of one or another of the imperialist powers. No capitalist State exists, be it imperialist or not, which is not, in one way or another, integrated into the “world imperialist system of States”.

Basically, the CPC(ML)’s revision of the theory of the State consists of denying that the State is always the instrument of domination of one class which has seized power during a political struggle. For CPC(ML), the State is nothing more than a mechanical and abstract reflection of the economy. This leads CPC(ML) to state that the Canadian State is dependent “like a colony” because it has a very large public debt and to a large extent this debt is owed on the American market. For CPC(ML), that’s proof positive that the Canadian State is not independent and that the “reactionary bourgeoisie” is not a national bourgeoisie, but simply the representative, the puppet, of US imperialism in Canada.

When chauvinism and nationalism go hand in hand

What happens when nationalists take a look at the question of Quebec? What happens? They promote narrow nationalism among the people. And what happens when chauvinists look at the question of Quebec? Why, they deny Quebec the right to self-determination and spread great-nation nationalism among the people. So then, what happens when the two decide to get together? Well, it certainly makes an odd couple! Especially when, as is the case for CPC(ML), it means combining “Canadian nationalism” and “Quebec nationalism”. But for the CPC(ML), great-nation chauvinism and narrow nationalism go hand in hand!

As we have already seen, “The bourgeoisie of Canada is a class of national betrayal.”[31] That’s why it’s up to the working class to be more patriotic than the bourgeoisie in order to achieve independence for the “Canadian colony”, for, as we must all be aware by now, “the Canadian state is a US imperialist lackey state, completely under its domination.”[32] So, “the proletariat must lead all the genuinely democratic and patriotic elements in this struggle against US imperialism and the reactionary bourgeoisie.”[33]

For the ultra-nationalists, nationalists are never nationalist enough, and for CPC(ML) a “Rene Levesque is a sell-out and a traitor to the Quebec nation and he is a representative of US imperialism in Quebec.”[34] So, as the reader has undoubtedly guessed, our revisionists of CPC(ML) have the magic recipe: let’s be more “patriotic” than Rene Levesque. But, how on earth are they going to manage that and at the same time be more “patriotic”, that is, more chauvinist, than Trudeau? Oh, that’s easy. The CPC(ML) has but to use that old hat trick which it has become so masterful at. You know, the trick of combining two things into one, of saying something is black and white at the same time. And that’s how the CPC(ML) ends up proposing that the national liberation struggle of the Quebecois people, be led by the people...of Canada!: “Rene Levesque and his Parti Quebecois are following the path of national betrayal but the path of the Quebecois people is the path of genuine national liberation in Quebec and of independence, democracy and socialism for Canada.”[35]

In other words, “only a genuinely independent, democratic, and socialist Canada can assure genuine national liberation in Quebec.”{36] (our emphasis). Now, if we are to believe what is written here, that means that revolution in Quebec must be preceded by a national liberation struggle, or that independence is a pre-requisite, a necessary stage before socialist revolution. But, on the other hand, CPC(ML) also state that the struggle for independence in Canada, the “mass anti-imperialist democratic revolution” is a condition for the “genuine national liberation of Quebec.” So, Quebec workers are faced with some problem...

“Does this mean that the Quebecois people must put aside the struggle for genuine national liberation, that the Native people should cross their arms and let things be, and that they should wait for the birth of a genuinely independent, democratic and socialist Canada? No, it doesn’t mean that. On the contrary, what we are saying is that the Quebecois people must struggle for genuine national liberation. And it can do so if it vigorously opposes Rene Levesque’s “independence” fraud and if it sees that the task of genuine liberation in Quebec is not only the task of the Quebecois people but the historic task of all the Canadian people led by the proletariat”[37]

So what CPC(ML) is telling us is that the struggle for national liberation in Quebec (the struggle for the independence of Quebec, because a national liberation struggle means precisely to struggle for independence, for the constitution of an independent national State) will have to be waged by the Canadian people! As food for thought we couldn’t have done better, if we had tried. But what, in fact, is hiding behind all this demagogy? Well, other than the total falsification of the Marxist-Leninist concepts of national liberation and socialist revolution, what’s hiding there is an opportunist tendency to cozy up to the nationalist point of view of the radical petty-bourgeoisie in Quebec which finds the Parti quebecois’s (PQ) sovereignty-association project just a bit too pallid and prefers the slogan “independence and socialism” defended by the Trotskyists and many reformist union militants.

But the slogan of “independence and socialism”, which claims to be progressive and revolutionary, in no way constitutes a path to socialism. The source of national oppression in Quebec is not the fact that Quebec isn’t independent or “sovereignly-associated”, nor is it in the fact that Quebec is a colony of Canada. Historical facts show us that Quebec, like the other British colonies in North America, waged, under the leadership of the bourgeoisie, a struggle to put an end to the colonial regime. In the course of this struggle, the bourgeoisie in Quebec united with the bourgeoisies of the other colonies in the Canadian confederation. This did not, however, prevent the Canadian bourgeoisie from maintaining discrimination and oppression against the Quebec nation. In particular, the Canadian bourgeoisie (both its Anglophone and Francophone elements), which controls the central government, obstinately refuses to recognize that Quebec forms a nation, and that, like all nations, it has the right to self-determination – the right to decide if it wants to form an independent State or to freely join with the English-Canadian nation. Division, discrimination, and national oppression in Canada are basically linked to the capitalist and imperialist nature of Canadian society.

The bourgeoisie denies Quebec’s right to self-determination because it wants to totally maintain its own control over the Canadian market from east to west. This is, and has always been, the basis for the existence of capitalism in Canada. At the same time, racism, chauvinist ideology, discrimination, and their counterparts in Quebec, narrow nationalism and a revenge mentality, are extremely important weapons for the Canadian and Quebec capitalists to use in pitting Quebec workers against English-Canadian workers, to divide and rule. That is why Marxist-Leninists clearly advance that the struggle against national oppression in Quebec means the struggle against the Canadian bourgeoisie, a struggle which requires the unified force of the Canadian multinational proletariat. It means that socialist revolution, proletarian revolution, in Canada, is the path to definitely put an end to all forms of national oppression in Canada. And that is quite a bit different from the slogan of national liberation in Quebec which would mean that Quebec should first put an end to national oppression through independence and afterwards liberate Quebec workers from capitalist exploitation through socialist revolution. This is a dead end which puts the struggle for socialism off ’til later, besides limiting it to a faction of the Canadian working class. And in the meantime, it leaves the door wide open for the PQ, whose independence scheme is aimed at but one thing: to use national oppression to perpetuate discrimination in a new form and to consolidate itself as a monopoly faction of the bourgeoisie.

Although they vigorously reject the slogan of “national liberation in Quebec”, Marxist-Leninists in no way renounce the struggles which must immediately be waged against national oppression, within the context of capitalism. Just the opposite, since every victory, even partial ones, on this question is a step forward in consolidating the unified combat of the Canadian working class against the bourgeoisie. That is why we firmly support the recognition of Quebec’s right to self-determination, and the recognition, in practice, of the absolute equality of languages and nations.

This principled Marxist-Leninist position is a far cry from the CPC(ML)’s opportunism, nationalism and chauvinism. Besides defending the slogan of national liberation in Quebec, in the most inconsistent way imaginable, the CPC(ML), at the same time, refuses to resolutely support the legitimate democratic demands of the Quebec people.

Speaking of the “counter-revolutionary theory of the existence of a confederal State with two nations”, the CPC(ML) tells us that there is but one nation in Canada... the Quebec nation.

“The Third Congress of the CPC(ML) affirms that there is one country, Canada which includes the oppressed nation of Quebec (...) striving to implicate the masses of the people into this oppressor state established by the British colonialists and today dominated by US imperialism, the reactionary bourgeoisie attributed the name ’nation’ to this Anglo-Canadian colonialism. However, this state of Anglo-Canadian colonialism can not be equated with the ’Anglophone nation’ or the English-Canadian nation (...) Opportunists who call themselves “genuine Marxist-Leninists” take up the same campaign with their call for the absolute equality of nations and languages or by talking about ”the workers of the two nations.”[38]

Ah yes, another fine example from the CPC(ML)’s bag of tricky logic. The CPC(ML) “vigorously” demarcates from the type of chauvinism which claims that there is but one nation in Canada, the Canadian nation. That’s wrong, the CPC(ML) tells us. Why? Because Trudeau forgot to add the word “French” to the word “Canadian”. It’s true that there is but one nation in Canada, but it’s the Quebec nation! And since there is no English-Canadian nation but simply a “English-Canadian colonial State”, which, don’t forget, is itself “dominated by US imperialism”, it is, of course, quite useless to struggle for the absolute equality of languages and nations. And it’s also quite useless and even chauvinist to struggle against racist, nationalist and chauvinist prejudices which the bourgeoisie whips up in the working class to better divide it. “The opportunists advance the line that the Canadian working class should not he great-nation chauvinist and that the Quebec people should not he narrow nationalist (...) It’s the opportunists themselves who are national chauvinists and social-chauvinists because they are the ones who have adapted the cunning thesis of two nations, the Anglophone Canadian nation and the Francophone nation of Quebec. But the truth is that in the country Canada, there is one sole nation, the Quebec nation, subjugated by the Canadian state.”[39]

And with all of that, what becomes of the communist defence of Quebec’s right to self-determination?

“The issue in Quebec is not federation, secession or autonomy but national liberation from the domination of US finance capital and its lackeys in the Quebec and Canadian monopoly capitalist class. Canadian communists do not fight for self-determination. They fight to lead... the masses of the nation to fight imperialism, to wage a people’s war against the oppression of finance capital.”

“Let the revisionists run around proclaiming Quebec’s right to self-determination. Let the communists lead the masses into war – open or understood, violent or non-violent, bloody or bloodless – against the last of the oppressors of our country.”[40]

That’s how the CPC(ML) combines nationalism with the worst kind of chauvinism, and refuses to defend the democratic and national rights of the Quebec people. We should also point out that this opportunism permeates to the organizational level where the CPC(ML) has organized and disorganized, depending on Chairman Bains’ whim, the Parti Communiste du Quebec (Marxiste-Leniniste), PCQ(ML), whose slogans include “Death to US imperialism and Anglo-Canadian colonialism” and “Struggle for the People’s Republic of Quebec”.[41]

At this point, our readers must be asking themselves, and rightly so, but what’s become of the English-Canadian nation... which isn’t, it seems, a nation after all? Aren’t Anglophone workers still part of the universe? Perhaps they form some kind of ethnic minority destined to mope and pine away because it was not born Quebecois?

Maybe the shrewd readers have already found the key to the puzzle by placing themselves (not for too long now) in the ultranationalist and anti-imperialist position of the petty-bourgeoisie. No, the English-Canadians don’t form a nation. But, don’t lose patience, they’re about to become one, because their national consciousness is developing in the very course of the glorious “mass democratic anti-imperialist” struggle!

“There is a second nation in the process of being shaped. Decisive to its development will be the struggle led by the proletarian class to unite the Canadian people and create an independent country. Without going through such a nation-building experience (...) a Canadian nation as distinct from either the US nation or the Quebec nation will not develop.”[42]

Now, here everybody should recognize the good old thesis on cultural nationalism. The English-Canadian nation cannot exist because its culture is too similar to US culture... Following that logic, we could say that apart from the different Native groups, there are only two nations in Latin America, the Brazilians who speak Portuguese, and all the other peoples who speak Spanish. Of course, to arrive at such a conclusion we would have to be totally unaware of the specific history of each country and its formation as a distinct State. To put it briefly, we would once again have to revise the teachings of Marxism-Leninism. And what do you know, that’s exactly what CPC(ML) has done by denying that the history of Canada formed an English-Canadian nation out of the Anglophone populations of the old British colonies, a nation which co-exists in the same country with the Quebec nation.

It’s almost impossible to imagine more extreme opportunism than CPC(ML)’s on the Quebec national question. With its slogan of “national liberation in Quebec”, it hopes to rally the bourgeois nationalists and Trotkyists who refuse to see that the national oppression of Quebec is not the result of colonial oppression but rather of the systematic policy of discrimination practised by the Canadian bourgeoisie, particularly its dominant Anglophone faction. That is why for the Quebec workers who are exploited as workers and dominated as Quebecois, the path of progress is the unified struggle with the Anglophone proletariat and that of the different national minorities to defeat the Canadian bourgeoisie, including its Quebecois faction, through socialist revolution. But invoking the slogan of a national liberation struggle, once again CPC(ML) tries to oppose the socialist revolution, which in the current conditions in Canada is the sole means of putting an end to national oppression in the interests of the working class.

At the same time as it propagates narrow nationalism to oppose socialist revolution, CPC(ML) just as fiercely combats the democratic rights of the Quebec nation and adopts totally chauvinist positions. By rejecting the struggles for Quebec’s right to self-determination and the absolute equality of languages and nations, it allies with the worst chauvinists and sabotages the unity of the workers of the two nations, refusing to even recognize the existence of the Anglophone nation which is privileged in relation to the Quebec nation. CPC(ML) actively opposes the struggle waged by communists to combat the nationalist and chauvinist prejudices which the bourgeoisie foments in the working class. And that’s a direct attack against the socialist revolution in Canada because the Quebec working class will not become involved in the proletarian revolution alongside its class brothers and sisters without the explicit condition that the majority Anglophone section of the working class will take up the legitimate national demands of the Quebecois.

So, just what is the CPC(ML)? It is a phoney Marxist-Leninist party, nothing more than a saboteur of the socialist revolution, a saboteur of the unity of the Canadian proletariat and a saboteur of the democratic demands of the oppressed Quebec nation and the national minorities.

A strategy of class collaboration

At the beginning of this chapter we saw how for the CPC(ML) “class analysis comes out of struggle.” So how can we identify our friends and our enemies in the struggle? That’s a pretty secondary question for revisionists and radical petty-bourgeois elements for whom the question of classes and class struggle pale by comparison to the struggle “to liberate” the Canadian “colony” from the grasp of US imperialism. CPC(ML)’s class analysis reduced to its simplest formulation is: on one hand there is, US super-imperialism and its “lackeys” in Canada, the so-called “Canadian comprador monopoly capitalist ” class; on the other, there is the “Canadian people” including the “national bourgeoisie” and possibly factions of the monopoly bourgeoisie itself!

“The principal contradiction in Canadian society is between the Canadian people, and US imperialism and the Canadian comprador monopoly capitalist class”.[43]

Or in other words, “the ruling class in Canada has always been a comprador ruling class.”[44] And, the enemy of the “mass democratic anti-imperialist revolution” in Canada is the “reactionary bourgeoisie” – also known as the “big bourgeoisie” – that is to say, the above-mentioned comprador class and “traitor to the nation”.

“The social base of reaction in Canada is the reactionary bourgeoisie, that is the big bourgeoisie, that which is solely Canadian and that which is simply an extension of the US big bourgeoisie. This big bourgeoisie controls and monopolizes everything and is quite distinct from the national bourgeoisie. (...) which is extremely weak (...). Such a “national bourgeoisie” cannot exist in Canada as the big bourgeoisie because of the entire historical development of Canada.”[45]

In other words “At the present, there are two types of capitalists: Those who are still enjoying the colonial privileges – basically known as compradors, and those who are managers of the US imperialist branch plants – basically known as bureaucrat capitalists.”[46]

It would be an insult to the revisionist CP to call the CPC(ML)’s “class analysis” revisionist since even the former would never have dared so openly advocate such complete and total class collaboration with the bourgeoisie. For the CPC(ML), there aren’t any class contradictions in Canada, just a few traitors or compradors. Now we have CPC(ML)’s real line – a sacred union of all classes, except for a few traitors, agents of foreign imperialism.

“The monopoly capitalist Canada has been ruling Canada since, and before, 1867. Right from its birth, it has been a traitor class. It was tailor-maid (sic) by the English colonialists to fulfill their colonialist aims, and has been fulfilling these aims quite well with full loyalty to the English crown. A section of this class took up the job of serving the US imperialists. Still smaller sections became errand-boys of other foreign imperialists. This is the role the monopoly capitalists play in the life of Canada.”[47] (our emphasis)

Evidently, in order to wage the “people’s anti-imperialist revolution”[48], CPC(ML) raises a vibrant call to form “a patriotic anti-imperialist united front for the eventual overthrow of the comprador ruling class, and establishment of a revolutionary government dedicated to the liberation of Quebec and the independence of Canada.” It goes without saying that... “that such a government must of necessity in the era of imperialism be also dedicated to the emancipation of wage labour from capital is clearly understood by CPC(ML).”

And just who will form the united front? “A vast army of Canadian workers employed in the circulation of goods and services, in government offices, educational institutions, in small businesses as owners, even as medium factory owners – all these working masses are bled ... by finance capital” (our emphasis). Better yet, comparing Canada and China, CPC(ML) come to the conclusion that:

“In fact what Mao Tse-tung is talking about in his article is the possibility of the people’s revolution against imperialism making an alliance with the comprador monopoly class (Chiang Kai-Shek) on a temporary basis to fight a common invader (Japan). Possibly sections of the Canadian monopoly capitalist class would join an alliance with the Canadian people’s anti-imperialist front if US imperialism should invade Canada. But that is not an item on the immediate political agenda.”[49]

As for the other factions of the bourgeoisie, CPC(ML)’s Third Congress quickly lined them all up in the camp of the proletariat’s allies.

“Vacillating and temporary allies of the proletariat: certain sections of the non-monopoly bourgeoisie, the national bourgeoisie who are patriotic, those who are pro-communist, or not anti-communist, those who have the interests of the nation in mind against the reactionary bourgeoisie, those who are opposed to the shifting of the burden of the economic crisis onto the backs of the proletariat, those who are opposed to the fascisization of the State and are against the war preparations and are opposed both to Canada remaining in the camp of imperialism or joining the camp of social-imperialism, those who are sympathetic and friendly to the socialist countries and other independent countries and generally support the national liberation movement of the nations and people of Asia, Africa and Latin America, and who take a democratic stand favouring the proletariat. In the intermediate strata, there are sections, especially those of upper petty-bourgeoisie, rich professionals and others, officials of the government and state sychophants of the reactionary bourgeoisie, etc. who are not the allies of the proletariat.” (our emphasis)[50]

Just look at what political conclusion petty-bourgeois anti-imperialism leads to: struggling against the compradors and uniting with all patriotic bourgeois in order to achieve “real independence” in Canada! CPC(ML)’s class collaboration perspectives go even farther than those of the Canadian revisionist party with its anti-monopolist front, since the CPC(ML) even foresees allying with the Canadian monopolists to wage the principal struggle against US imperialism. These are profoundly reactionary positions which link capitalist misery and oppression to foreigners rather than seeing their source in capitalism itself.

CPC(ML)’s slogan of struggling against the reactionary bourgeoisie and the monopoly capitalist system reveals itself for what it is: reactionary anti-imperialism which isolates the struggle against imperialism from the struggle against capitalism and the national bourgeoisie. To adopt this position is to abandon Marxism-Leninism, to abandon proletarian internationalism and to go completely over to the camp of imperialism, the camp of bourgeois nationalism and chauvinism.

It would be futile to delve into CPC(ML)’s affirmations and so-called “definitions of classes” in detail, given that they’re so far removed from Marxism. However, we should at least remark on the absurd definition that it has of the “national bourgeoisie”.

“The opportunists make no distinction between the big bourgeoisie, the bourgeoisie which controls the principal means of production and expropriates surplus-value; and the national bourgeoisie, which is extremely weak and incapable of fighting the big bourgeoisie (...) To these opportunists, the meaning of the term “national bourgeoisie” refers to a capitalist or monopoly capitalist who is Canadian. To them, the term “national bourgeoisie” does not mean the bourgeoisie which has only the home market and produces for the home market.”

In brief, the national bourgeoisie is not composed of the bourgeois of the nation, or more precisely in our case, of the different nationalities which form the country. But if Bains’s rhetoric means that the “national bourgeoisie” is not the national bourgeoisie, that is, the Canadian bourgeoisie, well then, just who is it? A gang of Martians perhaps? We might just have something there! For CPC(ML), the “national bourgeoisie” is composed solely of small capitalists whose activities don’t go beyond home markets. In short, no Canadian monopoly or imperialist can be a part of CPC(ML)’s “national bourgeoisie” since, by definition, all monopolies pursue, to one degree or another, imperialist activities which are aimed at the world capitalist market. Well it just so happens that in Canada, an imperialist country, the monopoly faction of the bourgeoisie is largely dominant (According to W. Clement, who made a thorough study of the Canadian financial oligarchy, “concentration of Canadian industry is greater than in the US.”[51]) and imposes its law in all spheres of social activity. So it’s easy to understand how CPC(ML)’s “national bourgeoisie”, that is, the Canadian non-monopoly bourgeoisie, can be qualified as “weak” – weak in relation to the monopolies. As for the workers, they know only too well that this “weakness” generally means fierce exploitation for them. This vulgar deformation of the concept of the national bourgeoisie, this decree from Chairman Bains which excludes the Canadian monopolists from the national bourgeoisie, is so far removed, not only from Marxism, but from plain common sense, that you’d almost think it was the work of a mentally deranged person. However, we’re only too aware that CPC(ML)’s “sickness” has nothing to do with a mental disorder, and everything to do with a conscious counterrevolutionary strategy. By affirming that “the big bourgeoisie”, the class formed of Canadian monopoly capitalists, or as CPC(ML) call it, the class “which controls the principal means of production and which expropriates surplus-value”, is not part of the Canadian national bourgeoisie but rather loses itself in the foreign US bourgeoisie, CPC(ML) desperately tries to save the Canadian bourgeoisie by transforming the Canadian working class into a support contingent to consolidate a genuinely national imperialist bourgeoisie in Canada. If we had to qualify the basis for CPC(ML)’s strategic line in class terms, we would have to say that it represents the aspiration of the Canadian imperialist bourgeoisie to liberate itself from US hegemony.

However, in Canada, a country where capitalism has reached its decaying imperialist stage, the consolidation of the “national bourgeoisie’s” imperialism can’t mean anything but an accentuation of reaction, and the increased repression of the Canadian working class in the name of “national salvation”. So the very essence of CPC(ML)’s strategic line is not just counterrevolutionary – the open opposition to, and sabotage of, the socialist revolution, hiding behind the mystifying slogan of the “mass democratic anti-imperialist revolution” – it’s also the path for strengthening the dictatorship of the Canadian bourgeoisie, and pushed to its extreme, the path of the dictatorship of the extreme right!

For, ultimately, what are CPC(ML)’s denunciations of the Canadian imperialist bourgeoisie based on? On the fact that it isn’t Canadian, that it is traitorous and comprador. But CPC(ML) in no way opposes the bourgeoisie on the basis that it’s an exploiting class. On the contrary, it proposes an alliance with the bourgeoisie with the goal of achieving the “independence” of imperialist Canada, which can only mean Canada’s emergence as a political, economic and military power capable of standing up to the very superior power of US imperialism. But more than that, CPC(ML) doesn’t even eliminate the possibility of allying with the “traitorous” monopolists to the extent that they’re ready to line up behind CPC(ML)’s political project and undertake open opposition to foreign imperialists rather than collaboration with them. But how can CPC(ML) hope to see its project realized if not by offering the Canadian working class, bound hand and foot, to the bourgeoisie? One thing is clear: the Achille’s heel of all the imperialist bourgeoisies in the world, at a time when the crisis continues to grow, is the growing revolt of the working class, and socialist revolution... CPC(ML)’s recipe is active opposition to socialist revolution and Marxism-Leninism simmered with the pretension of support. CPC(ML) preaches the most shameful class collaboration in order to struggle against foreign powers. It struts about provoking chauvinism and nationalism. Yes, those are the essential ingredients this phoney party uses to convince the Canadian monopolists to put an end to their betrayals and to rally to the “national bourgeoisie” in a “national war” which in fact risks having more in common with the development of repression against the working class, with the open terrorist dictatorship of the bourgeoisie than with people’s revolution.

Some of you might feel that this is pure speculation. However, when all the tasks of the bourgeois democratic revolution and of the national revolution in a country have been accomplished, when it’s been ages since the national bourgeoisie of that country has lost its revolutionary and progressive character to assume the role of a 100% true-blue reactionary imperialist bourgeoisie, and when the development of repression and the negation of the rights of the working class are presently snowballing, the heavy consequences of CPC(ML)’s slogans are all too clear. What does it mean to call for “national revolution” on the pretext that “one’s” imperialist country suffers from the hegemony of a superpower and to call for an alliance with the national bourgeoisie on the pretext that it is “weak”? Well, if ever these slogans are put into action, it can only mean one thing, an accentuation of reaction, and ultimately, fascism.


[1] PCDN, no. 13, 1975, p. 2

[2] QCP, June 28, 1977, p. 4 (our translation)

[3] QCP, June 28, 1977, p. 3 (our translation)

[4] QCP, Jan. 9, 1975, p. 2 (our translation)

[5] Lenin. Imperialism, highest stage of capitalism. Foreign Languages Press, Peking, p. 32

[6] Clement, Wallace. The Canadian Corporate Elite, Carleton Library, Toronto, 1975, p. 11 and following

[7] QCP, Jan. 9, 1975, p. 2 (our translation)

[8] Lenin, A caricature of Marxism, Collected Works, Volume 23

[9] QCP, Jan. 14, 1975, p. 2 (our translation)

[10] Political Resolution 1977, p. 19

[11] Statement by the BC Provincial Committee of the CPC(ML), August 25, 1977

[12] PCDN, May 4, 1977, p. 8

[13] QCP, March 7, 1977, p .2 (our translation)

[14] PCDN, no. 13. 1975, p. 2

[15] Political Resolution 1977, p. 37-38

[16] Ibid, p. 19

[17] Proletarian Unity, no. 10, April-May 1978, p. 24

[18] Ibid., p. 28

[19] Mass Line, September 17, 1969, p. 10

[20] Mass Line, September 17, 1969, p. 23

[21] Political Resolution 1971, published in 1976, p. 4

[22] Ibid., p. 10

[23] Op. cit., p. 34

[24] Constitution of CPC(ML), revised in March 1973, Documents of the Political Resolution p. 144

[25] PCDN, Nov. l, 1976, p. l

[26] Mass Line, May 25, 1975 (our emphasis)

[27] PCDN, no. 13, 1975, p. 21 (our emphasis)

[28] PCDN, no.12, 1975, p. 3

[29] see QCP, October 29, 1974, p. l

[30] Political Resolution 1977, p. 73

[31] QCP, Aug.13, 1977, p. 4

[32] QCP, Oct.19, 1976

[33] QCP, June 22, 1977

[34] QCP, Sept.2(l, 1977, p. 4

[35] QCP, July II, 1977, p. l (our emphasis)

[36] QCP, June 23, 1977, p. l (our emphasis)

[37] Ibid.

[38] QCP, June 30, 1977, p. 36

[39] QCP, Sept. 28, 1977, p. 6

[40] PCDN, no.2l, 1975, p. 2 (our emphasis)

[41] Patriote Rouge, Sept. 1971

[42] PC’DN, No. 21, 1975, p. 2

[43] QCP, Jan. 15, 1975, p. 3 (our translation)

[44] PCDN, no.21, 1975, p. 3

[45] Political Resolution IV 77, p. 19-20

[46] Ibid., p. 48

[47] Ibid., p. 51 (our emphasis)

[48] PCDN, no. 2l, 1975, p. 2

[49] Ibid., p.3 (our emphasis)

[50] Political Resolution 1977, p. 69 (our emphasis)

[51] Clement, Wallace, op. cit., p. 110