First Published: Progressive Worker, Vol 1. No. 1, November 1964.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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The historic period in which we live is mainly characterized by the transition from Capitalism to Socialism. This transition, which was initiated by the Great October Revolution, has now become the world camp of Socialism. It is the period of intensifying struggle between two opposing social systems – Imperialism and Socialism.
This is the time of Socialist Revolutions and of revolutions for the national liberation of colonial peoples. Our era is marked by more and more peoples taking the path of transition to Socialism – the triumph of Socialism on a world scale. We are now witnessing the break down of imperialist system, the revolutionary destruction of colonial exploitation by aroused peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America.
The contemporary world is marked by a number of fundamental contradictions all of which, and the struggles to which they give rise, are closely inter-related and exercise influence on one another. For an understanding of the modern world, and to impart correct leadership in the struggle, it is necessary for us to consider ALL the contradictions and their inter-relationship at all times – not eliminating any or substituting one for another.
There is a contradiction between the Socialist camp and the camp of Imperialism: it is a contradiction with a fundamental class content – one between states that are under the guidance of the dictatorship of the proletariat and those under the dictatorship of the monopoly-capitalist bourgeoisie. The basic contradiction between these two world systems can not be resolved by agreements between “sober leaders”, nor will they automatically disappear in the process of peaceful competition.
There is a contradiction that exists between the workers and capitalists in the capitalist nations. A contradiction which is growing in intensity as the crisis of imperialism and capitalism deepens and becomes more acute and can only be resolved by means of socialist revolution.
There is the contradiction between the exploited and oppressed colonial nations and the imperialist nations. Resolutions of this contradiction will be achieved only through the revolutionary, anti-imperialist struggle and the advance of Socialist Revolution.
There is the contradiction that exists among the the imperialist countries and among the various monopoly-capitalist groups. The main feature of this contradiction is the rise of a single power – U.S. imperialism – to a position of dominance over all the other capitalist and imperialist states.
The contradiction between the camp of socialism and the camp of imperialism intensifies as the world base of Socialism develops and expands while the world base of imperialism is narrowed before the advancing forces of socialism and under the hammer blows of the national liberation movement. In this situation, imperialism attempts to resolve the problem with the export of counter-revolution and plots of war against the Socialist camp. Against this is the countries of the Socialist camp on the basis of Marxism-Leninism and the principle of proletarian internationalism.
In the struggles in the capitalist countries between the worker and capitalist struggles given rise to as result between worker and capitalist, struggles given rise to as a result of the contradictions between the exploiter and exploited, it is necessary for the working class, in order to achieve victory for themselves to: Strengthen the international proletarian by supporting the, on the basis of proletarian internationalism, all socialist countries without distinction; help the revolutionary struggles of the peoples in the oppressed nations; master Marxist-Leninist theory and carry the struggle through to the Socialist Revolution, the conquest of state power and the transition to Socialism.
The vast areas of Asia, Africa and Latin America are the focal and concentration point of all the various contradictions which exist the world today. It is these areas which are at the center of the revolutionary storms raging against imperialism – it is here that imperialism is being subjected to the serious challenge by the armed people in the revolutionary struggle against oppression.
The international Socialist Revolutionary Movement and armed struggles for national liberation in the colonial countries are two great, merging currents in the stream of anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist revolutionary struggle moving in the direction of a socialist solution to the contradictions in the contemporary world.
The anti-imperialist struggles in Asia, Africa, and Latin America can not be reduced to a question of regional significance only. These struggles are an important component of the international proletarian revolution. They are hammering at and undermining the foundations of imperialist rule and destroying colonialism old and new. Viewed in this light, the cause of the Socialist Revolution depends, to an important degree on the outcome of the people’s revolutionary struggle in these areas which contain the overwhelming majority of the world’s population. The anti-imperialist revolutionary struggle is, therefore, of considerable overall importance to the proletarian world revolution.
Imperialism, assailed and besieged by the revolutionary peoples, seeks to solve its problems by resorting to war and the exportation of counter-revolution and attempts to intimidate and blackmail the peoples with threats of thermo-nuclear war.
Given the united and determined socialist forces; the national democratic struggles; and the peace forces of the world, the imperialist plans for world war can be defeated and nuclear weapons can be banned and destroyed. War, however, still remains as a possibility so long as imperialism exists and will only end only when an end is put to the system of exploitation by means of Socialist Revolution.
In the fight against war, it necessary for the working class and progressive forces distinguish between unjust wars of the peoples against the imperialist oppressors.
The contemporary period is marked by a resurgence of revisionism in the service of imperialism and demands a united and unyielding struggle on the part of Marxist-Leninists in defence of the basic concepts of Marxism-Leninism and for the Socialist Revolution.
This new ideological assault is, by far, the most serious ever encountered by the Marxist movement. This is primarily due to the fact that Khrushchev and the Central Committee have placed the great prestige and influence of the CPSU and the USSR in the service of the modern revisionists. These modern revisionists deny the applicability of basic Marxist-Leninist concepts to the situation in the contemporary world. They challenge the propositions proletarian Socialist Revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat, putting forward the proposition of the peaceful transition to socialism and socialism by example.
In the ideological struggle the embattled Marxist-Leninist forces around the world are immeasurably aided by the Communist Party of China’s firm and unyielding stand in the defence of the fundamental revolutionary principles of Marxism-Leninism. In this struggle against the modern revisionists the Communist Party of China is a strong rallying point for Marxist-Leninists in the international movement.
At this critical juncture in history, it is essential that Marxist-Leninists mobilize their strength in a revolutionary organization; formulate a program; state their views in clear terms; begin the important task of rallying the working people and progressive forces in the nation in the struggle against imperialism and reaction; and lead the working class in the direction of Socialist Revolution and the transition to socialism.
In the formulation of our program, we must pay attention to the international situation and relationship of forces and to the objective reality of Canada and the contemporary world.
While it is true that there are distinct national characteristics in Canadian affairs, which spring from our particular historical development and distinguish our situation from that in other lands and that they, to some extent, determine our tactics in mobilizing the working people, these are superficial in nature and do not alter the basic Marxist-Leninist approach to the solution of the fundamental contradictions that beset Canadian capitalist society.
The distinctive development of the Canadian Capitalist class and of monopoly-capitalism has been largely determined by Canada’s position between two imperialist powers – Britain and the United States.
Defeated by the superior British forces in the Revolution of 1837, the Canadian bourgeoisie had to content themselves with the compromise represented by the constitution that was granted to them by the imperial government in 1867.
This constitution – although amended a number of times – is now an anachronism and in no way reflects the political realities in Canada today. There is widespread discussions on the need for a new constitution enacted by the Canadian Parliament and controlled in Canada. Given a continuation of present conditions, this could only be a bourgeois constitution which could in no way alter the fundamental fact of class society in Canada.
It could well be that the power to amend would merely be transferred from the imperial to the Canadian Parliament.
With the rapid decline of British Imperialism in the post-war world and the rise to a position of dominance by US imperialist interests, Britain’s hitherto dominant position in the Canadian economy passed to the US monopolists. Canadian economy and industrial development is, therefore, under US domination and suffers the distortions and anarchy consequent on that domination.
But it must be taken into account that the main section of the Canadian monopoly capitalists are in partnership with US imperialists in the exploitation of Canada.
It is also noted that Canadian monopolists are imperialists in their own right and often enter into joint agreement with US imperialism for the exploitation of peoples in other lands INCLUDING US WORKERS. Canadian E.P, Taylor, Chairman of the Board of Argus Corporation (one of the biggest monopolists in the world) has holdings in a score of countries with the US being numbered among them. Cyrus Eaton and the Norris family are the only two among a number of US monopolists who have developed out of the Canadian capitalist class.
While the Canadian bourgeoisie often expresses irritation and discontent about their inferior position vis-à-vis the US, they can never be consistent and cannot help but make compromises with the US monopolists on all important and fundamental questions. To expect the Canadian monopoly bourgeoisie to act in a radical or progressive manner would be naive indeed. While aiming the blows against US imperialism, it will also be necessary to engage the Canadian monopolists in battle – otherwise victory will elude us.
As consequence of the defeat of France at Quebec in 1759, French Canadians have been compelled to exist as a conquered and oppressed nation, first as a crown colony, and, after 1867, as a minority in the Canadian bourgeois state. This contradiction in this situation gave birth to the struggle for national liberation by the Canadian and US monopoly capitalists.
The working people of French Canada are moving to the fore as a decisive force in the struggle for national self-determination and the question of a socialist revolution is being widely discussed. This struggle begins to merge with that of the working class struggle in other regions of Canada and is directed against the common force of the Canadian and US monopoly bourgeoisie.
Canadian agriculture is marked by a high degree of monopolization. But there is still a considerable force of working farmers who are at the mercy of the Canadian monopoly capitalists. In many areas, these farmers work part-time in industry and so come into contact with the working class, often after joining labour organizations.
Out of some 20 million people, scattered across a country that is second in the world in terms of land area, we have some 6 million workers of whom less than 30% are organized in labour unions.
The labour unions are, for the most part, in the control of conservative and opportunist elements who also, in partnership with professional politicians, exercise control over the social-democratic movement (NDP) for their own narrow ends. These officials are in league with and often bureaucratically appointed by the US heads of “international” unions. The mass labour movement, therefore, reflects to a great extent Canada’s status in relation to US imperialism.
As exception to this situation is the Canadian National Trade Union movement which is almost entirely confined to French Canada and reflects the national struggle in that land.
In a land of abundance, we suffer from serious chronic unemployment and misery. Fully one-third of workers receive sub-standard wages that keep them below the poverty line while an additional one-third are just above that line.
The increasing monopolization of an already highly monopolized industry, the application of the benefits of monopolization to the generation of greater profits, and the growing crisis of capitalist and imperialist system, indicate that there can be no hope for a fundamental change in these conditions of mass poverty and degradation while the system of capitalist exploitation continues.
Our youth are leaving schools and universities to enter a world that has no need of them (except perhaps as blood sacrifices in imperialist war). They face a future that is bleak indeed unless the system of exploitation is abolished and replaced with a new socialist system.
It is responsibility and historic task of the Marxist-Leninists to formulate and advance a program that will rally and inspire the working people of town and countryside to rise in the struggle against the forces of reaction and war. A program that will rally the working class as a consistent revolutionary core of a people’s movement: that will rally the broad democratic masses in the struggle against monopoly capital; to defend and expand democracy against the growing menace of fascist reaction; to improve the living conditions of the working class; to defend peace, oppose the imperialist plans for continuation and expansion of the arms drive and give active support to oppressed nations fighting for liberation.
We must be mindful, at all times, to keep the forefront of all our activity: the need to to raise the socialist consciousness of the working masses and convince them of the necessity for socialist revolution, the dictatorship of the proletariat and the transition to socialism to achieve the thorough resolution of the contradictions of our society – which capitalist in nature.
1. Take Canada out the US dominated counter-revolutionary and aggressive alliances such as NATO and NORAD.
2. Keep Canada out of the OAS.
3. Remove nuclear weapons and US war planes from Canadian soil.
4. Assist in all possible ways the peoples of oppressed nations fighting for liberation.
5. A Canadian foreign policy based on peace, friendship and equality with socialist nations and those newly liberated from the imperialist yoke.
6. Expropriation and nationalization of the monopoly-capitalist industry (which is chiefly US controlled); elective committees of working people to manage the plants; working people to be armed and defend the nationalized industries against the attempts of the monopolists and imperialists to re-establish their control by the forceful and violent means.
The two Canadas suffer from exploitation at the hands of the same monopoly-capitalist and imperialist elements, therefore, the things which tend to divide the two peoples can be only superficial in nature while those things which tend to unite us are fundamental in character. As the common struggle against monopoly and imperialism develops the superficial divisions will be resolved and unity on the fundamentals will weld us closely together in struggle against the common foe.
Relations between the two nations must be firmly based on the strict and unwavering recognition of the right to self-determination, up to including the right of secession and on the basis of proletarian internationalism.
Promote unity of actions between the working class and working farmers and the rural proletariat in the common struggle against monopoly exploitation and improve living conditions.
Organize the underpaid, unorganized majority of Canadian working people into independent and rank and file controlled Canadian unions.
Lead the struggle for a return of democratic control against the bureaucratic and reactionary officials (both Canadian and US) in the union locals – the basic organizations of the movement.
Advance military demands for the improvement in living standards, the broad development of social security measures for extensive cuts in hours or work, extended vacation periods, oppose layoffs for any reason. Guarantee work for all, including the youth leaving schools and universities.
It will not be sufficient to advance such a program and leave it to fate to give it life. There must be a vehicle – a political party – to organize and lead the masses in a fight to make the program a reality.
We would be naive indeed if we were to expect the liberal and petty-bourgeoisie to lead the struggle for these demands.
The social-democracy is a trend of bourgeois ideology, and a political detachment of the capitalist class in the labour movement and, therefore, incapable and unwilling to carry forward the struggle for a program of fundamental radical and socialist content.
The League for Socialist Action (Trotskyite) makes a pretense of being revolutionary but gives no indication that it is even remotely in touch with reality. The members concentrate on the cultish worship of Leon Trotsky; make indiscriminate attacks on working class groups and engage in constant internal bickering and ideological hair splitting. This constantly splintering ultra-left sectarian group concentrate on promoting splitting activities in the labour movement and are unlikely to win any significant support among the working people.
The Communist Party has fallen into the revisionists lead by Morris and Kashtan who are supported and encouraged by the Khrushchovites. They engage in vicious, unprincipled attacks against the Communist Party of China (foremost defender of Marxism-Leninism in the international movement); they promote the “parliamentary” and “peaceful road” to socialism thus disarming the working class in the face of capitalist class violence; they abandon and attack the Marxist-Leninist concept of socialist revolution and dictatorship of the proletariat; they abandon proletarian internationalism in favour of allying themselves with the Canadian liberal bourgeoisie; they accept – and try to get the working masses to accept – and try to get the working class to accept – the ideology of social democracy, the main bulwark of capitalism within the labour movement Having abandoned Marxism-Leninism, the CP leadership is quite incapable of leading the struggle for the realization of a program of fundamental working class demands.
We require, and must have, a proletarian party that maintains its own ideological and organizational independence in leading the struggle for the realization of revolutionary objectives. A Marxist-Leninist party will never lose sight of the socialist goal while it builds a broad united front of the people against monopoly and against the imperialist polices of aggression and war.
The Marxist-Leninists who are engaged in leading the immediate struggles must link these struggles with the fight for long-range general objectives. They must educate the workers in the revolutionary spirit of Marxism-Leninism, strive tirelessly and unendingly to raise their own and the workers level of political consciousness and understanding and undertake the honorable and historical task of preparing and leading the proletarian socialist revolution.
The Progressive Workers Movement calls on Marxist-Leninists everywhere to begin banding themselves together, to discuss, amend and popularize the program for the promotion of mass activity and the preparatory work for the socialist revolution. That they begin their own education in the theory of Marxism-Leninism as engage in and promote the struggle. That they work to educate the working people in the spirit of socialism.
We propose that the Marxist-Leninist worker’s groups begin discussing plans for holding a national conference in the near future for the purpose of organizing a Marxist-Leninist Worker’s Party in Canada which shall dedicate itself to raising again, to a place of conspicuous honor, the proud banner of proletarian struggle. Let us be ever mindful of the resounding words of the Manifesto of the Communist Party.
The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win.
WORKING MEN OF ALL COUNTRIES, UNITE!