At the first National Conference of the Communist-Labor Total War Committee, January 16-17, 1943, the opportunism which marked the policies of the pre-war period re-appeared in even more pronounced form. Tim Buck, in that section of his report dealing with the post war period, delivered himself of the following remarkable forecast:
“Victory over the Axis will clear the way for the full democratic development of all peoples –for the liberation of nations, the adoption of policies of economic security, the abolition of national oppression, the lifting of the colonial nations out of slavery into the light of freedom, on the basis of national self-determination. United Nations unity and collaboration, after victory, will assure to the peoples the possibility of orderly progress and the rapid healing of the terrible wounds inflicted by war. It will assure the possibility of tremendous strides forward, towards the great cultural, economic and social advancement outlined in the Atlantic Charter. It will assure freedom for the national development of those peoples who have been oppressed. The people of India will be able to secure their national freedom. China will be free. Nations in which the dominant trend of political opinion is Socialist will be able to translate their opinions into action. Far reaching social progress will be possible for all the people of the world.” (Canada and the Coming Offensive, p. 27.)
For a Communist, this is really precious: “full democratic development of all peoples,” “economic security,” “abolition of national oppression,” “national self-determination,” “orderly progress,” “cultural, economic and social advancement,” “freedom of India,” “freedom of China,” “socialism,” all as a result of victory over the Axis. In this idyllic picture Buck is really out-Browdering Browder a year before Browder announced his “new course” based on the “Teheran perspective.” Here, Buck is outlining a perspective almost identical with that advanced three years earlier by the C.C.F. and which S.S. characterized as being “borrowed from the stinking rubbish heaps of European Social Democracy” and “whose author was Kautsky.” S.S. further ridiculed the theory that “British Imperialism will voluntarily free peoples.”
Consider what the real picture was less than six months after V-J day: “Full democratic development of all peoples” – A pro-fascist government in Greece conducting a reign of terror and maintained in power by foreign troops. General Patton being called before Eisenhower to explain why Nazis run the government of Bavaria. All working class political parties and trade unions in those areas of Germany under Anglo-American occupation suppressed.
“Economic Security” – Mass lay-offs in war industries with no provisions planned or instituted for reconversion. Delegations on way to Ottawa to protest closure of B.C. war industries. 2,000,000 out of work in the U.S. as a result of mass strikes. Veterans obliged to live in army huts with families because of housing crisis.
“National Self-Determination” – French and British troops suppress uprisings in Syria in struggle for National independence. Armed uprisings in Indo-China in struggle for independence also suppressed by British and French troops. All of this is, of course, “orderly progress.”
“Cultural, Economic and Social Advancement” – Schools remain closed in much of Europe. Mass famine threatens all of Europe. Forecast: Millions will perish during coming winter through famine and pestilence.
“Freedom of India” – Foreign Minister Bevin out-Churchills Churchill in Imperialistic speech pledging maintenance of British Colonial Empire. Thousands of political prisoners remain in Indian concentration camps.
“Freedom for China” – British troops reoccupy Hong Kong as a continuing British colony. Two divisions of American troops occupy North China to block march of liberation of Chinese Communist 8th Route Army. All Japanese troops in area retain arms on instructions of Kuomintang dictatorship to “maintain order.”
“Socialism” – Regimes of democratic governments in areas occupied by Red Army denounced as “totalitarian dictatorships” because of land reforms and other democratic measures. Fears of withholding food supplies by U.N.R.R.A. to starving countries of Europe, influences even scope of reform measures instituted by provisional governments.
One month after he had delivered the above forecast Buck delivered an acceptance speech when he was nominated as Federal candidate for Toronto-Spadina, in which he stated:
“A necessary condition for government policies that will underwrite social security, provide jobs for all able-bodied Canadians and maintain a generally high and stable level of prosperity, will be maintenance of the National income at a high level. The experience of the war years has proven conclusively that this can be done.” And Buck adds:
“I shall press the government to use the lessons we have learned during the war to finance lasting prosperity in the peace.” (For Victory In The War and Prosperity In The Peace, pp. 12-13.)
This is really rich. Here we have the spectacle of the revolutionary leader of the Canadian proletariat in the “uncompromising struggle for socialism” telling the people of Spadina that it has been “proven conclusively” that the national income, doubled as a result of war production can be maintained in the peace and thus “maintain a generally high and stable level of prosperity.” And not only that but pledges that if elected he shall “press the government” to “Finance Lasting Prosperity in the Peace.”
Now that Canada and the world was to have “orderly progress,” the “full democratic development of all peoples,” “economic security,” the “abolition of National oppression,” “cultural economic and social advancement,” and in view of the fact Buck himself was going to “press” the Capitalist government of Mackenzie King to “Finance Lasting Prosperity in the Peace,” Communism not only became unnecessary but a definite embarrassment and liability to Mr. Buck. The spectre of Communism had to be liquidated.
Consequently, at a conference held in Toronto just four months later, June 13, 1943, Buck, who had “invited those present on his own initiative and personal responsibility,” informed the handful of Party members present (of the 25 delegates in attendance there were 19 from Ontario, 14 of them from Toronto, three from Montreal and three from the other seven Canadian provinces – B.C. and N.S. were not represented) that:
“If we permit the continuance of illegality enforced by the government’s ban on Communism, this would only strengthen the sinister spectre of Communism which stands in the way of victory.” (Canada Needs a Party of Communists, p. 30.)
So! At a time when the Communist Red Army of the U.S.S.R., the Communist led partisan army of Marshall Tito of Jugoslavia, 500,000 strong, and the Communist led resistance movements of the occupied countries of Europe had definitely turned the tide against the German fascists, after one of the most heroic struggles of all history and the glory of Stalingrad, Mr. Buck discovers that the “spectre of Communism stands in the way of Victory.”
“We can exorcise that spectre most effectively by uniting ourselves in a new party of our own, and fighting under our own political banner in the open light of day, in systematic parliamentary, educational and organizational activity in every corner of Canada.” (Ibid., p. 30.)
The opening words of the Communist Manifesto, the basic program of the world Communist movement, runs as follows:
“A spectre is haunting Europe – the spectre of Communism. All the powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre; Pope and Czar, Metternich and Guizot, French radicals and German police spies.”
Whereas, formerly, dictators and police spies united to “exorcise the spectre of Communism” ninety-seven years later the leader of the Canadian Communists proposes that “we can exorcise that spectre most effectively...” i.e., that the Communists themselves exorcise the spectre of Communism.
Earlier in his speech Buck had stated that: “Continuation of the ban on Communism... is open surrender to reactionary obscurantism.” But instead of fighting to have the ban lifted he proceeded to advocate “open surrender to reactionary obscurantism” by means of “exorcising the spectre of Communism.”
In the course of his speech Buck also outlined, for the whole world to hear, the “respectability” of the new party he had in mind:
“Communists do not advocate violence. We are not a conspiracy, we are an integral part of Canadian democracy. We subordinate ourselves entirely to the democratic will of the majority. We Communists strive to win support for the policies we advocate by exactly the same means as, and by no other means than, the other political parties of Canada. Everything we do and everything we advocate is strictly in accord with the laws of Canada.” (Ibid., p. 23.)
Compare this concept of a Communist Party with that of Lenin:
“Legal work must be combined with illegal work – The heroes of despicable opportunism ridiculed this and smugly extolled the ’law,’ ’democracy,’ ’liberty,’ of the West European countries, republics, etc.” (Selected Works, Vol. X, p. 45.)
“Must we always agree with the majority? Not at all.” (Ibid., p. 217.)
“It is not verbal recognition that is needed, but a complete rupture in deeds with the policy of reformism, with prejudices about bourgeois freedom and bourgeois democracy, the genuine pursuit of revolutionary class struggle.
“Attempts are made to recognize the dictatorship of the proletariat in words in order secretly to drag alongside of it the ’will of the majority’... ” (Ibid., p. 51.)
“We Communists employ methods of struggle which differ from those of other parties.” (The United Front, p. 132.)
Following the conference the membership of the Party were astonished to learn through the medium of the daily papers that a new political party of Communists was to be formed.
The new Party, The Labor Progressive Party, was formed at a constituent convention held in Toronto, in August 1943. In explaining the reason for dropping the word Communist from the name Buck explained that in addition to affecting the recruiting of new members, the name “Will have even more effect upon the support that our candidates receive at the polls.” (Victory Through Unity, p. 21.)
As regards the tasks of the new Party, Buck explained:
“The adoption of democratic Canadian policies in foreign affairs, the struggle for sweeping national reforms in domestic affairs, the role of government in the maintenance of national prosperity and the cementing of unity between the two great peoples, French and English speaking, of our country – these must all be faced and decided upon. Our decisions as a nation on these issues will determine whether Canada shall go forward or if we shall go back.
“These great issues will be fought out in the main, on the field of parliamentary activity.” (Ibid., pp. 17-18.)
In his acceptance speech, following his nomination as National Leader, Buck returned to the same theme, the decisive importance of parliamentary action in the new period when “Old, moth-eaten arguments no longer suffice to meet new conditions.” (Ibid., p. 35.)
Buck waxed eloquent. Said he:
“We see in this tremendous democratic upsurge which has found expression in parliamentary action an historic movement of the Canadian people... This mighty democratic upsurge marks a tremendous forward step. It will bring lasting benefits to the majority of the people, however, only if, out of it, there is developed a unified political movement of progressive workers, farmers and middle class people who can guide that movement steadily forward in a struggle to elect farmer-labor governments and finally a government that will establish Socialism in Canada.” (Ibid., p. 56.)
Bravo! No spokesman of the Capitalist class could have done a better job of eulogising parliament. “Tremendous democratic upsurge,” “mighty democratic upsurge,” “historic movement of the Canadian people.” Votes cast in an election campaign in these “new conditions” now become a “mighty democratic upsurge.”
Lenin had a somewhat different opinion:
“To decide once every few years which member of the ruling class is to repress and oppress the people through parliament—this is the real essence of bourgeois parliamentarism, not only in parliamentary-constitutional monarchies, but also in the most democratic republics.” (State and Revolution, p. 40.)
Writing in 1920 for the second Congress of the CI. Lenin further elaborated:
“... The whole history of bourgeois democracy, particularly in the advanced countries, has transformed the parliamentary tribune into the principal, or one of the principal, arenas of unprecedented fraud, of the financial and political deception of the people, careerism, hypocrisy and the oppression of the toilers. Hence, the burning hatred towards parliament entertained by the best representatives of the revolutionary proletariat is quite legitimate.” (Lenin’s Selected Works, Vol. X, pp. 170-171.)
For the benefit of those philistines who are so fond of distorting quotations from Left Wing Communism in order to magnify the importance of parliamentary activity out of all proportion, it should be noted that Lenin wrote the above statement two months after he wrote Left Wing Communism.
However, Lenin did express his opinion regarding Communists gaining parliamentary seats in connection with his proposal that the Communist Party of Great Britain should enter into an electoral arrangement with the British Labor Party. Lenin wrote:
“If the Hendersons and Snowdens accept the bloc on these terms, then we gain because the number of seats in parliament is not a matter of importance to us; we are not chasing after seats.” (Left Wing Communism, p. 66.)
According to Buck, the “Progressive” workers, farmers and middle class people are going to elect “farmer-labor governments and finally a government that will establish socialism in Canada.” It is indeed all quite simple. First we elect a “farmer-labor government” and then “finally a government that will establish socialism in Canada.”
But again Lenin’s viewpoint differed slightly from that of Buck. Forty years ago he wrote:
“We are all convinced that the emancipation of the workers can only be brought about by the workers themselves; a socialist revolution is out of the question unless the masses become class conscious, organized, trained and educated by open class struggle against the entire bourgeoisie.” (Lenin’s Selected Works, Vol. III, p. 52.)
And ten years ago Dimitroff stated:
“The experience of the victory of the great October revolution on the one hand and, on the other, the bitter lessons learned in Germany, Austria and Spain during the entire post-war period, have confirmed once more that the victory of the proletariat is possible only by means of the revolutionary overthrow of the bourgeoisie, and that the bourgeoisie would rather drown the labor movement in a sea of blood than allow the proletariat to establish socialism by peaceful means.” (The United Front, p. 89.)
As Buck’s speech had intimated, the new Labor Progressive Party turned out to be almost exclusively a petty bourgeois, social democratic, parliamentary election machine in program, tactics and organization and not a revolutionary Marxist workers’ party at all. On the excuse that “Canada needs a party of Communists” the Communist Party of Canada was liquidated one year before the dissolution of the Communist Party of the U.S.A.
The program of the Labor Progressive Party while paying lip-service to the principles of Marxism is saturated with anti-Marxist policies and flat contradictions. A Considerable portion of the program is devoted to a glorification of bourgeois democracy, of hiding the economic contradictions of capitalism, of ignoring the class antagonisms of capitalism, of falsifying the theory of the socialist revolution, of distorting the role of the farmers, of perverting the theory of the state, of revising the theory of Imperialism and of completely perverting the theory of the National Question.
On the National Question the program states first of all that:
“Political equality was won for French Canada by the joint struggle of the Reformers and Patriots of Upper and Lower Canada a century ago.” (Program, p. 8.)
It then proceeds to admit on the next page that as a result of:
“Over a century of the deliberate maintenance of feudal restrictions in the province of Quebec, and from Government policies designed to keep French Canada as a zone of specially profitable exploitation, the French Canadians suffer the inequalities of lower wages than those paid in English Canada, inferior health, cultural and educational standards, incomplete recognition of linguistic rights in the armed forces.” (Ibid., p. 9.)
And on page 31 of the Program, in explaining Confederation, it states that:
“By its Federal form, the new state (The Dominion of Canada) acceded to the demand of the French Canadians for their own autonomous state.”
Such sophistry! “Political equality was won for French Canada” a century ago; French Canada constitutes an “autonomous state;” yet, a century later, it suffers from economic, social, and cultural “inequalities” because of “feudal restrictions” and the fact French Canada constitutes a “zone of specially profitable exploitation” because of “government policies.”
And how does the program propose to rectify these monstrous inequalities imposed on the French Canadians because of “government policies”? It is all very simple; through “The removal, by Dominion and Provincial government action, of all national inequalities in Quebec.” (Ibid., p. 18.) Just like that. The same governments that are responsible for the inequalities are now to remove them because of the “great popular crusade of the people of Canada to achieve these sweeping democratic reforms with which the Labor Progressive Party identifies itself.” (Ibid., p. 18).
So! This “revolutionary party of the proletariat” instead of “standing at the head of” and “leading the working class” now “identifies” itself with the “great popular crusade of the people.”
The program continues to jump from one absurd contradiction to another:
“The Labor Progressive Party declares its support of the Atlantic Charter... The Party declares that the application of the Atlantic Charter requires the acceptance of the principle of the full right of self-determination for all nations.” (Ibid., p. 13.)
According to Lenin:
“Self determination of nations means the political separation of the nation from other national bodies, the formation of an independent national state.” (Lenin’s Selected Works, Vol. IV, p. 251.)
“The right of nations to self-determination means only the right to independence in a political sense, the right to free, political secession from the oppressing nation. Concretely, this political, democratic demand implies complete freedom to carry on agitation in favor of secession, and freedom to settle the question of secession by means of a referendum of the nation that desires to secede. Consequently, this demand is by no means identical with the demand for secession, for the partition and for the formation of small states. It is merely the logical expression of the struggle against oppression in any form.” (Lenin’s Selected Works, Vol. V, p. 270.)
We can now establish the following points:
(1) The French Canadians suffer from economic, social and cultural inequalities.
(2) These economic, social and cultural inequalities are due to “government policies.”
(3) Government policies are political policies.
(4) Political policies of a dominant nation which result in imposing “economic, social and cultural inequalities” upon a smaller nation within the same state constitute, in fact, national oppression of that nation.
(5) In order to put an end to the oppression of a national minority by a dominant nation within the same state Marxism insists on the right of self-determination.
(6) The right of self-determination means “the right to free political secession from the oppressing nation” and “freedom to settle the question of secession by means of referendum.”
The only logical conclusion, therefore is, that as an oppressed nation, French Canada should have the right to secede, to decide the question by a referendum and that a Marxist Party in English speaking Canada is duty bound to fight for the right of secession by French Canada. Instead of that, however, this “Marxist Party of the working class” proposes that the government whose policies are responsible for the political oppression should remove “all national inequalities in Quebec.” One might well ask: Could sophistry and political bankruptcy be carried further? But in addition to that piece of sophistry, the use of the terms French Canada and Quebec interchangeably, as is done in the program, is also a perversion of Marxism.
Quebec is a province within the Canadian State, whereas, French Canada is a nation which includes not only Quebec, but also the contiguous areas of Ontario and New Brunswick where the French Canadian people constitute a majority of the population and where, it is a well known fact, the French Canadian people suffer from either economic, social or cultural inequalities as bad, if not worse, than they do in the province of Quebec. Furthermore, the French Canadians settled in parts of Ontario and New Brunswick a century or more before the British conquest.
Hence, to speak of removing “all national inequalities in Quebec rather than the nation of French Canada, is in itself, a vulgarization of the Marxian position on the National question.
The Marxian definition of a nation is as follows: “A nation is an historically evolved, stable community of language, territory, economic life, and psychological make-up manifested in a community of culture.” (Stalin.) It cannot be denied that French Canada fully meets all of the requirements of nationhood designated in the above definition Yet, Stanley Ryerson, National Educational Director of the Labor Progressive Party, whose French Canadian forbears date back to 1636 and who is publicised as “an outstanding authority on the question of French Canada,” a graduate of the University of Toronto and of the Paris Sorbonne, repeats the same contradictions and errors in his supposed authoritative work French Canada. Ryerson writes:
“The question of French Canadian Autonomy, of “Quebec provincial rights,” must be recognized by English speaking Canada for what it is; the expression of the democratic right of the French Canadians to the choice of their own state. Any denial of that right is a denial of full national equality.” And he adds, further on: “This means unqualified recognition, in practise as well as in words,” of the principle of full national equality for the French Canadians. (French Canada, p. 178-179.)
But how does he recognize this right “in practise as well as in words”? By demanding the right of secession for French Canada, an elementary Marxian principle? Far be it from him, this scion of a French Canadian family dating back to 1636 and of English Canadian forbears who participated in the reform movement of one hundred years ago, to make such a radical suggestion. He writes:
“The raising of the low living standards which monopoly rule has inflicted on Quebec is a common, Canadian responsibility, requiring federal, as well as provincial government action.” (Ibid., p. 178).
In other words, to raise the low living standards that monopoly rule which the federal and provincial governments, which administer monopoly rule, have “inflicted on Quebec” requires “action” by the provincial and federal governments. Such “profundity” is really amazing.
The opening words of the preamble to the Party constitution reads as follows:
“The Labor Progressive Party is the political organization of the workers, farmers, professional people and all other Canadians who toil by hand or brain.”
This explanation of the class forces which the party represents is in fact a revision of several basic tenets of Marxism since it claims to be a Party “of scientific socialism, of Marxism” and “dedicated to the achievement of socialism.”
It is now nearly 100 years since Marx and Engels first pointed out in the Communist Manifesto that:
“Our epoch, the epoch of the bourgeoisie, possesses, however, this distinctive feature; it has simplified the class antagonisms. Society as a whole is more and more splitting up into two great hostile camps, into two classes directly facing each other: Bourgeoisie and Proletariat.”
Marx further recognized that Capitalism resulted in “The organization of the proletarians into a class and consequently into a political Party.” As regards the other classes Marx stated:
“Of all the classes that stand face to face with the bourgeoisie today, the proletariat alone is a really revolutionary class. The other classes decay and finally disappear in the face of modern industry; the proletariat is its special and essential product.
“The lower middle class, the small manufacturer, the shopkeeper, the artisan, the peasant, all these fight against the bourgeoisie, to save from extinction their existence as fractions of the middle class. They are, therefore, not revolutionary, but conservative, nay more, they are reactionary, for they try to roll back the wheel of history.” (The Communist Manifesto, pp. 26-27.)
Writing in 1905, Lenin also pointed to the basic class divisions of society and the necessity of a strictly class party of the industrial working class even before the overthrow of feudal-military Tsarism:
“The proletarian class struggle for socialism against the most democratic and republican bourgeoisie and petty bourgeoisie is inevitable. This is beyond doubt. From this logically follows the absolute necessity of a separate, independent and strictly class party.”
The Party of a new type based on the teachings of Lenin was referred to by Stalin as the Party of Leninism. Some of the “special features of this new party” he outlined as follows:
“The Party must first of all constitute the vanguard of the working class. Te Party must absorb all the best elements of the working class, their experience, their revolutionary spirit and their unbounded devotion to the cause of the proletariat... The Party is the political leader of the working class.
“But the Party cannot be merely a vanguard. It must at the same time be a unit of that class, be part of that class, intimately bound to it with every fibre of its being.
“The Party is the organized detachment of the working class.
“The Party is the highest form of organization of the proletariat. The Party is the fundamental leading element within the class of the proletariat and within the organization of that class.” (Chapter, on The Party – Foundations of Leninism.)
Georgi Dimitroff, general secretary of the Communist International reiterated the same concepts in 1935:
“We Communists are a class party, a proletarian party. But as the vanguard of the proletariat we are ready to organize joint actions between the proletariat and the other sections of the working people interested in the fight against fascism. We Communists are a revolutionary party; but we are ready to undertake joint action with other parties fighting against Fascism.
“We Communists have other ultimate aims than these classes and parties, but in struggling for our aims we are ready to fight jointly for any immediate tasks which, when realized, will weaken the position of Fascism and strengthen the position of the proletariat.
“We Communists employ methods of struggle which differ from those of the other parties; but while using our own methods in combating Fascism, we Communists also support the methods of struggle used by other parties, however inadequate they may seem, if these methods are really directed against Fascism.” (The United Front, p. 132.)
The independent, strictly class character of a Marxian Party of the industrial working class has been amply established by every authority on Marxism for the past hundred years. Hence, for a professed Marxian Party to describe itself as: “The Labor Progressive Party is the political organization of the workers, farmers, professional people and all other Canadians who toil by hand or brain” is a complete departure from, and repudiation of the basic Marxist-Leninist doctrines of: (1) The Class Struggle. (2) The theory of the Proletarian Revolution. (3) The theory of the Peasant Question. (4) The theory of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat. (5) The theory of Socialism. (6) The theory of the Party.
A comparison between the stated character of the Labor Progressive Party and that of the Communist Party of the U.S.A. denotes a glaring difference. The preamble to the constitution of the American Party begins as follows:
“The Communist Party of the United States is the political party of the American working class basing itself upon the principles of scientific socialism, Marxism-Leninism.” (The Worker, Aug. 11, 1945.)
Article 3 of the L.P.P. constitution states:
“Any person 18 years of age or over, regardless of sex, national origin, color or creed, whose devotion to the cause of the people is unquestionable, shall be eligible for membership.”
The phrase, “cause of the people,” is absolutely meaningless and anti-Marxian. Every political party and its program, including the fascists, claim to represent “the cause of the people.” To base eligibility on whether or not a prospective member’s devotion to this ambiguous cause is “unquestionable” is equally stupid and ridiculous. It is obviously impossible to determine in advance whether a prospective member’s “devotion” to any “cause” is unquestionable or not. This pedantic phrasemongering stands forth in bold relief when compared to the corresponding Article in the American Party constitution, which states:
“Any resident of the United States, 18 years of age or over, regardless of race, color, national origin, sex or religious belief, who subscribes to the principles and purposes of the Communist Party shall be eligible for membership.” (Ibid.)
Having already revised the basic principles of Marxism in the sphere of program and tactics it logically followed that revisionism would be also expressed in the field of organization. Article 6 of the constitution states:
“The basic organization of the Party shall be the branch or club. The Party branch or club shall be organized on a territorial basis, composed of members residing in the area covered by a given club. In exceptional cases, the Provincial Committee may recommend that charters be issued to clubs or branches organized on an occupational or language basis.”
This concept of the basic form of organization of a Marxist-Leninist Party is the exact opposite of that of Lenin and of the Communist International. Said Lenin:
“The main strength of our movement lies in the workers’ organizations in the large factories. For in the large factories (and works) are concentrated that section of the working class which is not only predominant in numbers, but still more predominant in influence, development and fighting capacity. Every factory must be our stronghold.” (Lenin on Organization, p. 111.)
On the same question:
“The Communist Party,” stated R. Palme Dutt, “Requires the basing of the Party in the factories, the stronghold of the industrial working class, and in the mass organizations of the trade unions, etc.” (Life and Teachings of Lenin, p. 81.)
“The basis of the Party organization, its ’fortresses’ are the factory nuclei.” (Introduction to Lenin on Organization, p. 44.)
The L.P.P., however, designates the territorial branch as the basic organization and only considers factory branches in “exceptional” cases. The real purpose for the organization of the L.P.P. on a territorial basis was because it had, in theory and practise, given up any attempt to be a Communist Party and constituted in fact, a right wing, parliamentary, social democratic party with a program of parliamentary reforms designed to outdo the platforms of the bourgeois parties themselves as a workable program for capitalism in the post war.
This fact is further borne out by the choice of a name, in which the chief consideration was given to its “effect upon the support our candidate receives at the polls.” Lenin held a very different view. “The question of name is not merely a formal question, but one of great political importance.” (Selected Works, Vol. X, p. 205.) Lenin further insisted that only the name Communist was politically correct for a Marxist Party.
Four months after the formation of the L.P.P. the national leadership issued the slogan “A C.C.F. Labor-Farmer Government.” This demand for the election of a C.C.F. Labor-Farmer Government met with considerable objection from the membership as they had not even been consulted before arriving at such an important change in policy.
However, this slogan was quickly withdrawn because, as Sam Carr explained, it “would have excluded the whole bourgeoisie from the National Unity Camp, and helped reaction to consolidate its forces.” (National Affairs Monthly, Sept. 1944, p. 173.)
This “terrible” mistake of proposing the formation of a government of workers and farmers without also including the capitalists was more fully “rectified” at a meeting of the National Committee of the L.P.P., February 12, 1944. At this meeting the “Teheran line” of Browder was adopted by the L.P.P. in all its essential features and even added to. Tim Buck, in his report to the meeting, stated:
“This agreement (Teheran) marks a turning point in the relationships between the first socialist state and the great capitalist states and, therefore, a turning point in the history of mankind.” (Canada’s Choice, p. 8.)
An examination of Buck’s statements in Canada’s Choice – Unity or Chaos will disprove the validity of Bucks claim of the “contrast between Comrade Browder’s approach to Teheran as a platform of class peace and our approach to it as a platform of democratic struggle...”
“The Teheran agreement,” stated Buck, “is a promise that the peoples of the liberated countries shall enjoy the opportunity to establish governments of their own free choice and to reconstruct their respective national economies according to their own needs and desires.”
This statement, in itself, is an interpretation of Teheran as a “platform of class peace” because the question of the types of “governments” and of “national economies” is decided in the final analysis by the respective strength of conflicting class groupings within each given country. Even non-Marxists recognize this obvious fact.
Buck’s interpretation of Teheran seems somewhat ironic, to say the least, in view of the statements contained in The White Book of the Greek National Liberation Front (E.A.M.), representing the following democratic political parties, trade unions and youth organizations: Union of Popular Democracy, United Socialist Party, Agrarian Party of Greece, Communist Party of Greece, General Confederation of Workers of Greece, Central All State Employees Committee, National Solidarity Organization, United Pan-Hellenic Organization of Young People. (E.P.O.N.)
An appeal to the allied governments dated Dec. 30, 1944, by the EAM states:
“The British Prime Minister, together with Mr. Eden, departed after repeating the assurance – to make it fully clear – that “Our guns will continue to fire as they are doing now!” In fact, British gun’s, for the sake of supporting more fully the irreconcilables of the right, had begun firing immediately at the unarmed people, drowning out the bells of the churches of Athens which had been ringing to celebrate the arrival of the British official personalities.” (The White Book of the Greek National Liberation Front, p. 77.)
“We are obliged to express to you the bitterness and the disillusionment experienced by the Greek people, who for years have struggled hard for their liberties, and for the aims of the allied cause, at this new failure of our efforts to achieve peace for the country. Moreover, we are obliged to protest because those forces which conducted the Allied fight in Greece and offered so many services to the Allies are considered enemies, and are again to be subdued by guns – British guns this time.” (Ibid., p. 77.)
A proclamation of ELAS, the 50,000 strong liberation army of EAM, reads:
“The enemy, being unable to hit our military forces, turned with revengeful fury against the non-combatants. With thousands of missiles, Mr. Churchill’s ships, airplanes, cannons and tanks, are daily causing the death of women, children and old people and are leveling the poor sections of the cities.
“Entire neighborhoods, factories and homes of the poor and hospitals have been reduced to dust. Mr. Scobie’s aim is to change Athens – the city which all conquerors and invaders have respected – into a heap of ruins, into a vast cemetery.
“In the face of Mr. Scobie’s brutal fury of invasion, the central committee of ELAS, in order to save the non-combatants from certain death caused by bombs and machine guns, and furthermore, in order to protect Athens and the Piraeus from certain destruction, have ordered the shortening of the lines of the heroic defenders of the Capital and Piraeus. This reforming of our lines (outside of Athens) is not a victory for Mr. Scobie. It is something worse than a Pyrrhic victory. It is an indelible stigma and an eternal disgrace, because only Scobie used the Sacred Rock of Acropolis as a shield for a war of annihilation.” (Ibid., p. 80.)
“The mere suspicion that they belong to the EAM side – often simply because they came from or lived in districts branded as friendly to EAM was sufficient to cause their arrest and imprisonment in the police dungeons or concentration camps. Even those who had been taken on English ships outside of Greece were not ELAS fighters but non-combatant citizens. Even the forces of Zervas, upon fleeing from Epirus, kidnapped as hostages, 1,500 non-cambatant citizens with the help of the British navy.” (Ibid., p. 108.)
In an appeal to the International Red Cross regarding prisoners of EAM held in prisons and concentration camps the EAM stated:
“As indicated by the figures we have cited, the total number of Greek hostages held in Africa by the English, amounts to 50,000.” (Ibid., p. 111.)
In a final appeal to the governments of the United Nations weeks after the supporters of EAM had surrendered their arms, dated March 12, 1945, the Central Committee of EAM stated:
“Armed gangs of collaborationists and traitors to their country, in co-operation with agents of the Government, have unleashed an unprecedented terrorism. Hundreds of democratic citizens are being arrested, maltreated, reviled in public and executed. Everywhere the offices of EAM organizations are being plundered and destroyed. State authorities prohibit by decrees the circulation of the left-wing press.
“Officers and men of the ELAS who surrendered their honored arms are abused, maltreated and even executed by organized gangs of traitors and by the agents of the State. All those who took part in the resistance movement are persecuted under various pretexts by the State itself.” (Ibid., p. 132.)
“The manifestation on every occasion of the hatred of the extreme right for our great Ally, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, is characteristic. Insignia and emblems of the Soviet state and pictures of its leaders are torn up. Anti-Soviet slogans are given wide circulation. Contempt for this ally is publicly expressed.“
The appeal continues:
“True to her history, Greece was the first country to rise against the barbarous Fascist invaders and wrote with the blood of her children the epic of the Albanian (Greek-Italian) war and of the National Resistance and gave herself as a holocaust to the common Allied cause. Now, following her liberation, she finds herself again in the claws of the Fascist clique of collaborationists and traitors. In Greece today, while affiliation with the National Resistance Movement constitutes a cause for merciless persecution, torture, and even execution, affiliation with the traitorous Security Battalions of the quisilings constitutes a scroll of honor which elicits rewards in the form of promotions, state pensions and other compensations.” (Ibid., p. 133.)
In eulogizing the Teheran accord as the beginning of a new epoch of peaceful social progress, Buck continued:
“It opens up the possibilities for a period of great and far-reaching economic and social progress. Carried through in the spirit which now inspires the United Nations it can result in raising the level of economic activity and social progress throughout the world: complete reconstruction of Europe and parts of Asia, the building of new cities, new transportation systems, new industries and the revitalization of cultural life. These things would mean literally the building of a new world.” (Canada’s Choice, pp. 10-11.)
Buck continues to paint his idyllic picture of the “new world” and to refute entirely the historic role of the working class in social progress. He states:
“The Teheran agreement marks out the lines of national and world policy which alone will bring victory in the war and far-reaching democratic progress for all mankind.” (Ibid., p. 11.)
Just think! This “diplomatic agreement” between three states “marks out the lines” not only of world policy but of “national policy,” i.e., the policy of each country. And further, these government policies “alone” will bring “far reaching democratic progress for all mankind.”
However, Buck warns:
“Domestic policies based upon the perspective of world progress through socialist-capitalist co-operation in aiding the liberated nations as envisaged in the Teheran agreement, can be assured only by the fullest possible measure of National Unity.” (Ibid., p. 19).
The successful realization of “Far reaching democratic progress for all mankind” then, for which “The Teheran agreement stands out as the sole basis” is dependent upon “National Unity” after the war.
Buck then devotes an entire section of his speech to proving: “National Unity – the antithesis of class collaboration.” States Buck:
“Contrary to class collaboration policies, national unity is the policy by which the class interests of the working class as a whole will be served, by co-operation with the democratic circles of all classes and all sections of the Canadian people, including a decisive section of the capitalist class in carrying through the economic and political measures which alone will ensure continual democratic progress and without which there is the gravest danger that Fascist-minded elements will come to power.” (Canada’s Choice, p. 21.)
Here we have a crude attempt to prove that co-operation between the working class and “a decisive section of the capitalist class” is not class collaboration but on the contrary, is a policy by which “the class interests of the working class as a whole will be served.” What is the difference between class collaboration and class co-operation? According to Webster’s Dictionary, collaboration is defined as: “The act of performing work or labor together.” Co-operation is defined as: “The act of working or operating together to one end.”
Obviously, there is no basic difference between the two terms. They both mean working together. Yet, Buck here endeavors to show that National Unity, which he defines as co-operation between the working class and “the democratic circles of all classes and all sections of the Canadian people including a decisive section of the capitalist class,” is not class collaboration but on the contrary is the policy “by which the class interests of the working class as a whole will be served.” Or, in other words, Buck tries to prove that co-operation between classes is the opposite of collaboration between classes, which is quite an ambitious undertaking. But Buck goes farther and warns that unless the working class co-operates with “a decisive section of the capitalist class in carrying through the economic and political measures” then “there is the gravest danger that fascist minded elements will come to power.”
Let us examine this crude sophistry. What is the “decisive section of the capitalist class”? The decisive section of the capitalist class in any capitalist country is the monopolies, which are decisive both economically and politically and which are designated as “monopoly capital” or “finance capital.”
What is the class basis of fascism? According to Dimitroff “Fascism is the power of finance capital itself.” (The United Front, p. 11.) It has been amply established that the class basis of fascism is the trusts, monopoly capital, which also constitutes the decisive section of capital.
Therefore, when Buck proposes that the working class co-operate with “a decisive section of the capitalist class” he is, in fact, proposing co-operation or collaboration with monopoly capital, which forms the class base for fascism, in order to avoid the “gravest danger that fascist minded elements will come to power.”
The proposal of Buck simply amounts to this: That in order to prevent fascism coming to power the working class must co-operate, or collaborate, with the very forces which constitute the base for fascism, the “decisive section of capital,” monopoly capital. Stripped of its verbiage this absurdity reduces itself to the proposal that the working class should collaborate with the very forces which breed fascism, in order to prevent fascism from coming to power.
Unabashed by the absurdity of such nonsense Buck goes on to state: “National Unity now, to win the war and around policies in accord with the Teheran agreement in the post war period, serves the highest interests of the working class, the farmers and the urban middle class people.” (Ibid., p. 21.)
In other words, National Unity, which Buck himself explains as co-operation with the capitalist class, i.e., class collaboration, “serves the highest interests of the working class.”
Buck then concludes triumphantly:
“It is obvious that National Unity in support of policies based upon the perspective opened up by the Teheran agreement is the very antithesis of the correctly condemned policy of class collaboration.” (Ibid., p. 21.)
This is really “brilliant.” We are now told that it is obvious that class collaboration is the very opposite of class collaboration. Of course it might be urged that Buck did not mean monopoly capital when he proposed that the working class should co-operate with a “decisive section of the capitalist class.” However, Buck himself makes it clear as to what section of the capitalist class he was referring when he asks:
“Is it possible to achieve National Unity in Canada for the carrying through of such policies?” And Buck answers: “Indeed it is. One of the best pieces of evidence to show that it is possible is to be seen in the changing tone and character of opinions expressed by many leading spokesmen of the capitalist class. One of the most outstanding of these comes from no less a person than Mr. Morris W. Wilson, president of the Royal Bank of Canada.”
After quoting from Mr. Wilson’s speech to the annual meeting of shareholders, Buck comments:
“Do not underestimate the significance of those words. They illustrate the fact that the more far sighted men among those who dominate Canadian economy are realizing that the problems of the peace will be tremendous, that failure to solve these problems will entail almost equally grave dangers as we are facing in the war; but that if the United Nations will grapple with the post-war problems in the same spirit that they are grappling with the economic problems of war, there is a possibility to avoid deep post-war crises which otherwise would be inevitable.” (Ibid., pp. 25-26.)
In other words, National Unity is possible because “many leading spokesmen of the capitalist class” and “the more farsighted men who dominate Canadian economy” are “realizing that the problems will be tremendous” and “that there is a possibility to avoid deep post war crises.”
So, not only is National Unity possible because of “the more far sighted” capitalists who “dominate Canadian economy” but “there is a possibility to avoid deep post war crises.” There is actually no basic difference between this concept and Browder’s theory of the “intelligent capitalists” who “realize their true class interests” adopting policies to make possible “generations of prosperity.” In fact Buck paints a similar picture of prosperity. Regarding the farmers, he states:
“They know as a result of the war that such markets can be maintained by raising the standard of living at home and adopting policies of international co-operation which will provide steadily expanding markets for the products of Canada’s fruitful farms.” (Ibid., p. 28.)
And not only are the Canadian farmers to have “steadily expanding markets” by collaboration with the “more far sighted” capitalists and thus avoid “deep post war crises,” but everyone is to have social security.
According to Buck:
“The war has shown that every child born in Canada could be guaranteed adequate nutrition, adequate medical care, efficient education and hospitalization. Every adult man and woman could be guaranteed protection against unemployment, adequate widowed mothers’ allowances, free medical care and hospitalization and adequate old age pensions for every Canadian who reaches the age of 60. The people of Canada believe these things are possible and they want a Dominion Government which they believe will provide these things right away.” (Ibid., p. 29.) Just to make clear that this prosperity and social security was to be achieved under capitalism and that he was not referring to socialism, Buck states: “Establishment of Socialism is not an immediate issue in Canada; it will not be in the immediate post war period.” (Ibid., p. 35.) And further: “... The issue of National policy in Canada is ’Social progress versus Reaction’ not ’Socialism versus Capitalism’.” (Ibid.)
In an article written shortly afterwards Buck elaborates the same theme:
“There is no objective basis for any suggestion that conditions, objective and subjective, in Canada will be such as to make it possible to abolish the profit system here in the immediate post-war period.” (National Affairs Monthly, April, 1944, p. 4.)
This is quite in line with a previous statement:
“Government policies in accord with the Teheran agreement will maintain the National income, the level of employment and popular purchasing power. They will make possible the achievement of a rising level of prosperity.” (Ibid.)
“On the basis of the Teheran agreement there is now the possibility that capitalist economy will be able to avoid a crisis of the sort which followed the first world war.” (Ibid., p. 5.)
Here we have a complete plan for the post war period by the Canadian “Marxists”: “Government policies in accord with the Teheran agreement... will make possible the achievement of a rising level of prosperity.” “... there is now the possibility that capitalist economy will be able to avoid a crisis of the sort which followed the first world war.”; ”There is no objective basis for any suggestion... to make it possible to abolish the profit system here in the immediate post war period.”; ”... the issue of National policy is... not ’Socialism versus Capitalism’.”
Since it is not possible to “abolish the profit system” and since the issue “is not socialism versus capitalism” and since it is possible for the “achievement of a rising level of prosperity” the task of the working class then becomes – not the achievement of socialism but of “making the system work.”
Stewart Smith, National Executive member, explains that:
“Government intervention in the National economy after the war, will have large functions in the sphere of foreign markets, opening up for Canadian industry vast markets never dreamed of before and made possible by the establishment of a stable and enduring peace after the defeat of Fascism.” (National Affairs Monthly, June, 1944, p. 74.)
Smith then continues:
“But what will be the nature of all this planning? It will be essentially and fundamentally an agreement between the more far sighted sections of monopoly capital, who recognize the need of such control and state intervention to make capitalism work, and the working class and progressive-democratic forces of the nation. It is absurd to think that such controls or state measures could be undertaken without the agreement of the decisive sections of monopoly capital.” (Ibid.)
And just to make it clear Smith reiterates:
“But quite definitely, state policy after the war as during the war can achieve very great results in making the system work, and it is essential that the working class should support such a policy. But this can only have meaning when understood as an agreement between labor and the decisive sections of monopoly capital.” (Ibid.)
And in the next paragraph Smith elaborates, further:
“The working class is for that degree of state intervention which is needed to achieve certain essential functions in making the capitalist system operate, in averting a crisis, assuring an expanded market, etc. The working class attitude towards the problem is precisely the same as that of the more far sighted sections of monopoly capital.” (Ibid.).
The position of the National leadership of the Labor Progressive Party towards the working class, monopoly capital, socialism and capitalism is now fully outlined!
“It is essential that the working class should support” a policy of “making the system work.” This is to be achieved through “government intervention in the national economy after the war” which will constitute “an agreement between the more far sighted sections of monopoly capital” and “the working class.” This will result in “opening up for Canadian industry vast markets never dreamed of before.” All of this is based upon “an agreement between labor and the decisive sections of monopoly capital.” Not only that, but “the working class attitude towards the problem is precisely the same as that of the more far sighted sections of monopoly capital.” And as for socialism, it is just not “possible to abolish the profit system here in the immediate post war period.”
According to Tim Buck these policies are put forward by, “... The party, which guided by scientific socialist understanding, helps guide the working class movement in fulfillment of its tasks in the struggle for progress.” (Canada’s Choice, p. 46.)
Since such policies, which are in essence, advocacy of open, unashamed, class collaboration “between labor” and “the decisive sections of monopoly capital,” are expected to result in ‥opening up for Canadian industry vast markets never dreamed of before” it is quite understandable that monopoly capital in Canada should be quite pleased with the successful efforts of the National Leadership of the Labor Progressive Party, to substitute the theory and practise of class collaboration for the Marxian doctrine of the class struggle.
Compare the position of Buck and Smith with that of Duclos: “... In France... our anxiety for unity does not make us lose sight for a single moment of the necessity of arraying ourselves against the men of the trusts.” (Political Affairs, July, 1945, p. 671.)
Having, in practise, completely repudiated the independent and leading role of the working class and subordinated labor to the “decisive sections of monopoly capital,” Buck then appeals to the Tories to also become “more far sighted capitalists.” Says Buck:
“The men and women who looked to the Port Hope program as the future program of their party, want the party to fight for social reform! They will support policies looking to post-war co-operation and mutual aid. These young Tories can, if they become seized with the tremendous significance of present day developments, become the decisive section of the Progressive Conservative Party.” (Ibid., p.n.)
Since Buck had already arrived at the position where the welfare of the working class was dependent upon the “more far sighted” capitalists the above appeal to the “young Tories” was quite in line with Buck’s proposition:
“A high level of employment, maintenance of wage levels, progressive social legislation and general social progress in the post-war years, depends entirely upon the extent to which Canada adopts policies in accord with the spirit of the Teheran agreement.” (Ibid., p. 41.)
And not only is employment, wage levels, social legislation and general social progress “entirely dependent upon Government policies”in accord with the “spirit of Teheran,” with the strength and activity of the trade unions playing no role whatever, but the “government placed in power” will “probably determine the direction of our national development for a generation.” (Ibid., p. 37.)
With the class struggle, the role of the trade unions and all prospect of socialism disposed of “for a generation” and the working class committed to “making the system work” through an “agreement between labor and the decisive sections of monopoly capital,” the next step was to complete the marriage between labor and monopoly capital through joint operation of the country’s economy by means of a coalition government of capital and labor.
The proposal for the establishment of such a government followed just thee months later at an enlarged meeting of the National Executive of the L.P.P. held on May 26, 27, 28, 1944. Tim Buck presented the now fully developed new line as follows:
“Workers, farmers, middle class people, employers, regardless of their party, who stand for democracy and reform, should come together in unity. A majority of Liberal, labor and farmer M.P.’s can be elected in the Dominion election, to form a Liberal-Labor Government, directly including the spokesmen of Labor and truly representative of Canada’s national interests now and for years to come. This is the only practical road ahead to victory and the reaping of its fruits.” (National Affairs Monthly, July, 1944, p. 99.)
Here we have, in the above proposal, the most crude and complete revision of Marxism that has probably ever been advanced by a professed Communist Leader. Classes and parties no longer have any meaning. All classes, “workers, farmers, middle class people, employers, regardless of their party” are to jointly form the government “directly including the representatives of labor” and on the basis of support of bourgeois “democracy and reform” be “truly representative of Canada’s national interests now and for years to come.”
For nearly twenty years Tim Buck had apparently visualized a Liberal-Labor coalition government coming to power in Canada. Speaking at the 5th Congress of the Communist International on June 26th, 1924, he is reported as stating:
“A Farmer-Labor government in Canada and the United States would be a Liberal-Labor government.” (Report of Proceedings p. 93.)
The purpose and the composition of the proposed Liberal-Labor coalition government was more fully elaborated in subsequent statements of Buck and of the National Executive of the L.P.P.
“The purpose of a democratic coalition is to head off the danger of anti-Teheran Tories securing the government or the balance of power. There is a broad common ground upon which the overwhelming majority of democratic people – Communists, supporters of the C.C.F., the broad masses of workers, farmers, urban middle class people, and genuine Liberals among the bourgeoisie – are in substantial agreement in this connection, that is their desire for domestic and foreign policies in accord with the letter and spirit of the Teheran agreement.
“That fact, combined with the need to prevent establishment of a government subservient to Tory interests, makes election of a government based upon a coalition of democratic forces – uniting the mass support of the CCF, the Labor Progressive Party, the progressive farm organizations, with the trade union movement and the progressive reform Liberals who supported McKenzie King – absolutely essential.” (National Affairs Monthly, October, 1944, pp. 198-199.)
This was not simply a proposal that labor or the Labor Progressive Party should support the election of a “progressive government” but that representatives of labor and above all, members of the Labor Progressive Party, should enter the cabinet and assume ministerial posts in a coalition cabinet together with the Liberals representing monopoly capital. Buck explains:
“The danger of Tory-Liberal coalition is the negative aspect of the electoral situation which makes a coalition of democratic forces necessary. The positive aspect of this situation is that it brings forward, for the first time, the possibility for labor to win direct representation in the next Dominion Government. A substantial group of Labor members in the House of Commons, with representation in the Cabinet, will raise the status and influence of the labor movement in the nation.” (Ibid., p. 198.)
The National Executive of the L.P.P. in a statement issued at approximately the same time as that of Buck not only proposed a coalition after the election but during the election campaign:
“In order to defeat the forces of Toryism, the L.P.P. proposes that the democratic coalition be achieved without delay through electoral agreements between the Liberal, C.C.F. and L.P.P. parties.” (Ibid., p. 196.)
Although, as proposed in the above statement, the coalition was to be composed of the Liberal, C.C.F. and L.P.P. parties it was apparent, almost from the time the proposal for a coalition government was first made, that the C.C.F. would not participate. This fact was publicly acknowledged by Buck during the summer of 1944, when he stated:
“There is no prospect that the C.C.F. will even join in such a coalition as Canada will need.” (What Kind of Government, p. 14.)
Having made this acknowledgment Buck then continued to eulogize the Liberal Party and the King Government:
“The proposal for Liberal-Labor coalition expresses the realities of the situation. The Liberal Party is a capitalist party, one of the traditional parties of capitalism in Canada. But the overwhelming majority of Canadians still support the capitalist parties and the government which comes to power after the next election will be the government of a capitalist country. The point is that Mackenzie King is responding to the possibilities opened up at Teheran and, with a powerful labor group as partner in the House representing powerful labor support outside, he will go considerably further.
“The King Government, which has organized and leads the war effort of which the nation is justly proud, follows a line of policy much closer to that indicated in the Teheran declaration than any other except the Labor Progressive Party. Mr. Mackenzie King’s role in the London Conference of Commonwealth Prime Ministers was a truly Canadian battle for commonwealth policies in accord with the spirit of the Teheran agreement.” (Ibid.)
The proposed Liberal-Labor coalition very quickly became recognized as a coalition, which if realized, would have been composed of representatives of the L.P.P. and the Liberal Party jointly sharing cabinet positions in order to “make the system work.”
Writing on the question of socialists entering a bourgeois government in September 1917, Lenin expressed the following opinion:
“The capitalists, better organized, more experienced in the affairs of the class struggle and politics, learned its lesson faster than the others. Perceiving that the position of the government was untenable, they resorted to a measure which for many decades now, ever since 1848, has been practised by the capitalists of other countries in order to fool, divide and weaken the workers. This measure is what is known as a coalition government, i.e., a joint cabinet of members of the bourgeoisie and renegades from socialism.
“In countries where freedom and democracy have longest existed side by side with a revolutionary labor movement, namely, in Great Britain and France, the capitalists have frequently and successfully resorted to this method. When they enter a bourgeois cabinet, the socialist leaders inevitably prove to be pawns, puppets, screens for the capitalists, instruments for deceiving the workers.” (Lenin’s Selected Works, Vol. VI, pp. 197-198.)
Referring to the socialists participating in the Kerensky Government in September 1917, Lenin stated:
“Having set foot on the inclined plane of compromises with the bourgeoisie, the Socialist Revolutionaries and the Mensheviks slid headlong to the bottom.” (Ibid., p. 202.)
“The lesson of the Russian revolution is that there is no escape for the masses from the iron grip of war, famine and enslavement to the landlords and capitalists... unless they renounce all compromises with the bourgeoisie and decidedly come over to the side of the revolutionary workers.” (Ibid., p. 204.)
Lenin had the deepest contempt for workers who strove to “make I capitalism work.” “... The international banner of workers who serve capitalism by choice and not by compulsion,” said Lenin, “is yellow.” (Ibid,, p. 87.)
Stalin held that agreements with the liberal bourgeoisie were not only impermissible during the epoch of the proletarian revolution, but even during the period of the Bourgeois Democratic revolution in Imperialist countries. In 1927 Stalin stated:
“With us in Russia, in 1905, the revolution was directed against the Liberal bourgeoisie in spite of the fact that it was a bourgeois-democratic revolution. Why? Because the Liberal bourgeoisie of an imperialist country is bound to be counter revolutionary. And that is why the Bolsheviks at that time did not and could not consider temporary blocks and agreements with the Liberal bourgeoisie.” (The National Question, p. 233.)
But according to Buck:
“Establishment of such a government, with Labor as a full partner in it, would open a new and higher stage of national progress in Canada.” (What Kind of Government, p. 11.)
In order to justify the proposed complete betrayal of socialism which the entry of Communists into Canada’s bourgeois government would constitute, Buck endeavored to make the proposal more palatable by drawing a comparison with the coalition governments of Europe. Buck stated:
“The need for a coalition in which Labor and Capital are represented in terms of partnership is not peculiar to Canada. Several coalition governments have come into being as a result of the conditions created by the war and the changing tasks and basis of governments. The Churchill government in Britain is a coalition government. The National Liberation Government of Yugo-Slavia is a coalition government. The Italian government is a coalition. The French Committee of National Liberation is a coalition. The Czecho-Slovakian government in exile is a coalition. There will be more coalition governments as more European nations are liberated and freely elect their own governments. In the existing state of political organization, and opinion, coalition is the only form through which governments can express the anti-fascist unity of all democratic people. Such a coalition will be necessary in Canada because Labor, alone, cannot carry through the policies that will be necessary in the post war years and capital, alone, will not carry through such policies.” (Ibid., pp. 9-10.)
The above method of presenting the question of labor, and particularly Communists, joining & coalition government is a gross distortion of Marxian principles and tactics, as is the argument that because labor was represented in the People’s Front government of France and Spain before the war, therefore, it is correct for Communists to join a government in coalition with the capitalists during or after World War II in Canada.
Let us first of all examine the position taken by the Communist International on this question.
Speaking on the question of the formation of governments of the United Front or People’s Front in 1935, Dimitroff stated:
“... We recognize that a situation may arise in which the formation of a government of the proletarian united front, or of an antifascist People’s Front, will become not only possible but necessary in the interests of the proletariat. And in that case we shall declare for the formation of such a government without hesitation.” (The United Front, p. 70.)
But he explained further:
“Under what objective conditions will it be possible to form such a government? In the most general terms, one can reply to this question as follows: under conditions of political crisis, when the ruling classes are no longer able to cope with the powerful rise of the mass anti-fascist movement. But this is only a general perspective without which it will scarcely be possible in practise to form a United Front government.
“Only the existence of definite specific prerequisites can put on the order of the day the question of forming such a government as a politically essential task. It seems to me that the following prerequisites deserve the greatest attention in this connection:
“First, the State apparatus of the bourgeoisie must already be sufficiently disorganized and paralyzed, so that the bourgeoise cannot prevent the formation of a government of struggle against reaction and fascism.
“Second, the widest masses of working people, particularly the mass trade unions, must be in a state of vehement revolt against fascism and reaction, though not ready to rise in insurrection so as to fight tinder Communist party leadership for the achievement of Soviet power.
“Third, the differentiation and Leftward movement in the ranks of Social Democracy and other parties participating in the United Front must already have reached the point where a considerable proportion of them demand ruthless measures against the fascists and other reactionaries, struggle together with the Communists against Fascism and openly come out against that reactionary section of their own party which is hostile to Communism.” (Ibid., pp. 70-71.)
As regards the practical policy of such a government once it was formed, Dimitroff insisted that:
“We demand that it should carry out definite and fundamental revolutionary demands required by the situation. For instance, control of the banks, disbanding of the police and its replacement by an armed workers’ militia, etc.” (Ibid., p. 75). But Dimitroff did not consider even a United Front Government capable of removing the danger of fascism.
”But we state frankly to the masses,” he said, “final salvation this government cannot bring. It is not in a position to overthrow the class rule of the exploiters, and for this reason cannot finally remove the danger of fascist counter-revolution! Soviet power and only Soviet power can bring salvation!” (Ibid., p. 76.)
As regards the question of whether or not Communists should participate in a United Front government, Dimitroff pointed out that:
“The question of whether Communists will take part in the government will be determined entirely by the actual situation prevailing at the time.” (Ibid., p. 108.)
In countries such as Spain which still had to complete the bourgeois democratic revolution Dimitroff explained:
“In countries where the bourgeois-democratic revolution is developing, a People’s Front government may become the government of the democratic dictatorship of the working class and the peasantry.” (Ibid.)
In order to more clearly explain the Marxian position on Communists joining a coalition government we will first deal with the People’s Front Governments of the pre-war and then proceed to examine the coalition governments in which Communists have participated since World War II.
As regards the People’s Front in France although parties participating in the People’s Front formed the government, which followed the election victory of April 1936, the Communists did not participate in the government which, strictly speaking, was not a People’s Front government. In explaining why the Communists did not join the government, Andre Marty, early in 1936 stated that:
“In a certain situation we can join such a government. But we shall not join it today. Why? The present government of France cannot be identified, for instance, with the bourgeois-Socialist governments of Czechoslovakia and Denmark. Why? Because these governments came to power as a result of parliamentary combinations, whereas the present government in France, formed by the Socialists with the participation of the Radical Party and the Socialist Union, came to power on the crest of a mighty wave of the People’s Front Movement and on the basis of the program of the People’s Front. This program was hammered out during the last one and a half years, in the struggle against the most reactionary elements of the bourgeoisie, against the fascists. And it is precisely because this government was created by an actively operating People’s Front that the bourgeoisie are compelled to tolerate it. But in the above-mentioned countries the position is entirely different. There, coalition governments are in power, governments of class collaboration with the bourgeoisie, the result of the usual parliamentary manouveres of the bourgeoisie.
“Although the present French government was placed in power by the People’s Front, the strength of this front is still not sufficient to establish a real People’s Front government as understood by the Seventh Congress of the Communist International. The aim of the Communist Party in supporting the new government is to prevent the government from being transformed into the usual government of collaboration with the bourgeoisie and by following the program on which this government was established to urge it on to satisfy the demands of the followers of the People’s Front who placed it in power, and first and foremost to satisfy the demands of the proletariat who inspired the People’s Front.” (The Communist International, August, 1936, p. 944.)
Here was a government which did not contain any bourgeois political parties:
“In this government there are thirty-five members, of whom there are eighteen Socialists, including two women; fourteen Radical Socialists including one woman; and three members of the Republican Socialist League.” (Ibid., p. 945.)
The Radical Socialists Lenin termed a “petty bourgeois” party. (Lenin, On Britain, p. 92.) But even though the bourgeois parties were not represented, the Communists would not join the government because the three conditions of: (1) political crisis, (2) a mass upsurge demanding ruthless measures against the fascists and (3) the disillusionment of the followers of the Socialists with the policy of class collaboration, had not yet sufficiently matured and acquired a mass character.
The situation was not such as to enable the government to become a “real People’s Front Government” in a position to, as Dimitroff said, establish “control of production, control of the banks, disbanding of the police and its replacement by an armed workers militia, etc.”
Therefore, it is clear, the action of the French Communists could in no way be compared to the proposal of the L.P.P. to enter a Liberal-Labor coalition government in Canada under the conditions prevailing in 1945.
However, the Communists did enter the government in Spain. Could that action be used as a justification for Communists entering a bourgeois government in Canada? Let us examine the situation that existed in Spain.
Following the election of February 10, 1936, the People’s Front – which included among others the United Trade Unions, Socialists, Communists, Anarchists, Basque Nationalists, Catalonia Nationalists, Youth organizations and the Left Republican Party – came to power and formed the government. Regarding this government J. Hernandez, one of the leaders of the Communist Party of Spain, writing shortly after the new government’s accession to power, stated:
“We do not leave out of account the fact that the present government is a Left Republican Government.” (The C.I., August, 1936, p. 962.)
According to Hernandez it would appear that, at the time, prior to the fascist uprising, the Communists had not even joined the government. In any event, under this “Left Republican government,” at that time, the following had already occurred:
“The state has already provided 87,000 peasants with land...
“A section of the fascist leagues and kindred organizations such as, for instance, the Spanish Phalanx, the Requetes, etc., have been disarmed and disbanded. At the present time 5,000 to 6,000 fascists are in jail.
“A clean up has begun in the police force, the gendarmerie and the army to rid them of reactionary monarchist elements.
“Partial and general strikes take place, accompanied by the occupation of factories and coal mines, and in the villages by the peasants and agricultural workers.
“The Workers and Peasants militia is in the stage of organization...
“In actual fact the militia exists throughout the country. The militia defends the People’s Front organization against attacks and aggression by the fascists and reactionaries, and defends the liberties of the people, and the Republic.” (Ibid., pp. 957-58-65.)
Such was the situation in Spain in the Spring of 1936.
The political estimation of the Spanish situation by the Communist Party of Spain was as follows:
“Two forces are struggling against each other in Spain – the force of fascism and the force of the anti-fascist People’s Front – revolution and counter-revolution. The outcome of the struggle has not yet been decided. At the present time we occupy a much more advantageous position than the enemies of the people. We can come out of this struggle victorious. The Party is growing rapidly. But the leadership of the Party does not forget that the successes that have been achieved are not yet finally consolidated. At the present time we are not putting forward the transition from the completion of the bourgeois-democratic revolution to the socialist revolution, for the establishment of the proletarian dictatorship, as the immediate task. But we aim at completing and carrying to its conclusion the people’s democratic revolution. This is the basic task of the Spanish people at the present moment.” (Ibid., pp. 968-69.)
Obviously, the situation in Spain was a revolutionary situation – the completion of the bourgeois democratic revolution for the removal of feudal restrictions. That was the situation in which the Communist Party accepted ministerial posts in the Left Republican Government of Spain. Further, the organizations and parties which made up the People’s Front in Spain did not include the political parties of the big bourgeoisie but were confined to the organizations and parties of the workers, peasants and the urban petty bourgeoisie.
Neither in France nor in Spain did the governments elected by the People’s Front nor the People’s Front itself come into being as a result of an electoral agreement but, on the contrary:
“... I must stress primarily that, both in Spain and in France, the People’s Front did not start as an electoral combination, but as a mass movement which was repeatedly in action before electoral agreements and election victories became possible.” Harry Pollitt. (Ibid., p. 974.)
It is clear, that to attempt to justify the proposal for a Liberal-Labor coalition in Canada in 1945 through drawing a parallel with the People’s Fronts of the France and Spain of 1936, as was done by the National leaders of the L.P.P. at the National Committee meeting of August 10-16, 1945, is not only a distortion of Marxism but an unprincipled falsification of history. So much for the governments formed by the People’s Fronts of France and Spain in the pre-war period.
What of the provisional, coalition governments of Yugoslavia, Italy, France and Czecho-Slovakia to which Buck referred? Let us first of all consider the situation which prevailed at the time these governments were formed. Just prior to, and following the occupation of Czecho-Slovakia, France and Yugoslavia by Hitler’s troops, a considerable portion of that section of the bourgeoisie which was anti-Nazi, fled from these countries. Of the bourgeoisie which remained, following the occupation, a large, if not a major section, collaborated with Hitler’s occupation forces in the suppression of their own people. Consequently, they were regarded as traitors.
Following the liberation of these countries by the combined efforts of the armies of the United Nations and the local armed resistance movements, which in Yugoslavia numbered 500,000 partisans and tens of thousands in France, those members of the bourgeoisie which had collaborated with the Nazis were hunted down, arrested and in some instances, executed for treason.
In practically every instance the bases for the provisional governments were the armed resistance movements, and while the representatives of the governments in exile were included in the provisional governments at the insistence of the Anglo-American Governments, this did not alter the fact that’ the provisional governments were representative of and supported by the armed anti-fascist resistance movements of the people, the post-war form of the anti-fascist People’s Front.
All of the prerequisites necessary to make the formation of such governments an “essential political task” as laid down by Dimitroff in 1935 were definitely present:
(1) “The bourgeoisie” could not “prevent the formation of a government of struggle against reaction and fascism.” The old “state apparatus was disorganized and paralysed.”
(2) “The widest masses of working people” were in “a state of vehement revolt against fascism” (1,600 of the French resistance fighters gave their lives in the seizure of Paris before the American troops reached the city).
(3) The members of the “Social Democratic and other parties participating” in the resistance movement were demanding “ruthless measures against the fascists” and did “struggle together with the Communists against fascism.”
In addition to the above, the policy of a People’s Front government was also put into effect, namely:
“Control of production, control of the banks, disbanding of the police.” As for the armed militia, it was already in existence. And further, the property of collaborators (including the huge Renault Auto plant, largest in France) was expropriated without compensation, and in the countries where absentee landlord ownership of the land still existed, the landed estates were expropriated and divided up among the landless peasants. In Italy the conditions and policies outlined above were, in the main, also realized, but under the difficulties of Anglo-American intervention in internal affairs. In Belgium and Greece (which were already referred to), developments took a different course because in both instances representatives of the governments in exile, included in the i provisional governments at the instance of the British government, appealed to and secured the aid of British armed forces to maintain themselves in office after the left wing ministers had resigned from the governments in protest against reactionary policies.
An objective examination of the conditions under which the provisional governments were formed, the composition of the governments and the program and policies which they followed, show conclusively that there was no similarity between Communists entering these governments and the proposal of the Labor Progressive Party that the Communists enter a coalition government together with the Liberals in Canada.
In one instance, it was an “essential political task,” while in the other it was unprincipled opportunism which could only mean, in practice, the subordination of the class interests of the workers to the interests of the Liberal bourgeoisie.
As for the virtues of the British Labor Party which entered the coalition with the Conservatives, here is Buck’s own opinion of it, now that it has formed the Government without a coalition: “The British Government would not be shooting down Indonesian people who want only national independence if that government were planning to grant freedom to the people of India and Malaya.” (Atomic Diplomacy, p. 21.) In 1943 Buck said, “India will be free.”
The argument is further advanced by certain of the L.P.P. leadership that because the Communist Party of China proposed to enter a coalition government of National Unity, therefore, a government of National Unity, a liberal-Labor coalition, is correct and necessary in Canada. What are the facts?
The facts are that China is a semi-colonial country, an oppressed country, whereas Canada is an Imperialist country. Speaking on this question in 1927, Stalin pointed out that there is:
“A strict differentiation between revolution in imperialist countries, countries that oppress other peoples, and revolution in colonial and dependent countries, countries that suffer from the imperialist oppression of other states. Revolution in Imperialist states is one thing: in those countries the bourgeoisie is the oppressor of other peoples; it is counter-revolutionary in all stages of the revolution; the national element, as an element in the struggle for emancipation, is absent in these countries. Revolution in Colonial and dependent countries is another thing: in these countries the oppression exercised by the imperialism of other states is one of the factors of revolution; this oppression cannot but affect the national bourgeoisie also; the national bourgeoisie, at a certain stage and for a certain period, may support the revolutionary movement of its country against imperialism, and the national element, as an element in the struggle for emancipation, is a revolutionary factor.” (The National Question, p. 233.)
“With us in Russia, in 1905, the revolution was directed against the bourgeoisie, against the Liberal bourgeoisie, in spite of the fact that it was a bourgeois-democratic revolution. Why? Because the Liberal bourgeoisie of an imperialist country is bound to be counterrevolutionary. And that is why the Bolsheviks at that time did not and could not consider temporary blocs and agreements with the Liberal bourgeoisie. On these grounds, the opposition asserts the same attitude should be adopted in China in all stages of the revolutionary movement and that temporary agreements and blocs with the National bourgeoisie in China are impermissible at all times and under all circumstances.” (Ibid., pp. 233-34.)
“Lenin,” said Stalin, “understood that at a certain stage of its development the National bourgeoisie in the colonial countries may support the revolutionary movement of its country against foreign imperialism.” (Ibid., p. 234.)
As a matter of fact, the proposal of the Chinese Communists to participate in a government of National Unity was advanced years before the “Teheran agreement” supposedly “marked out the lines of national and world policy.” Writing in 1939, one of the spokesmen of the Chinese Communists stated:
“... The long and successful collaboration of the Communist Party and the Kuomintang in the war of National defense determines their collaboration also after the war.” (The C.I., July, 1939, p.W)
“Victory in the war of national defense will be based upon National solidarity, on the collaboration of the political parties, on the anti-Japanese national united front. The experience of this collaboration teaches all the anti-Japanese parties and the entire Chinese people how necessary it is to continue National solidarity and collaboration for the sake of National renaissance and the reconstruction of a new China.” (Ibid., pp. 777-778.)
It is patently a perversion of Marxism to attempt to draw a parallel between the tactics to be followed by the working class in a semi-colonial, oppressed country such as China and an advanced imperialist country such as Canada because, as Mao-Tse-Tung, the leader of the Chinese Communist Party, placed the question, speaking on May 1, 1945:
“The struggle of the Chinese people, for freedom, democracy, and a coalition government is actually a movement for unification.” (National Affairs, Sept., 1945, p. 242.)
And the unification of China as a nation is necessary for the economic, social and political progress of the country and its independence from foreign, imperialist domination.
In spite of the opportunity which the National leadership of the L.P.P. had to recognize the revision of Marxism which had developed in Canada, on the basis of the criticism of the revisionist policies of Browder by the American Communists, not only did they fail to correct their opportunist policies but actually developed them further and denied that they had followed a revisionist line.
The resolution adopted by the National Committee, August 10-16, 1945, reads:
“Objective consideration shows that the policies, the legislative proposals and the slogans adopted by the Labor Progressive Party during the Federal election campaign were generally correct. The L.P.P. will continue to be guided in shaping its parliamentary proposals and slogans by the need to maintain democratic unity for the complete defeat of toryism in Canada.” (National Affairs Monthly, Oct. 1945, p. 281.)
“Detailed and objective study shows that the political line of the L.P.P. during 1944-45, as set forth in the Party program, resolutions and election platform, was based upon, and in general correctly reflected, the new situation created by the war and the tremendous possibilities that were signalized by the historic Teheran accord. The line of the L.P.P. was not based upon revisionist concepts.” (Ibid., p. 287.)
As regards the economic, social and cultural inequalities of the French Canadians, the resolution states:
“The Labor Progressive Party in French Canada will pay special attention to the task of helping the working people there to develop, by their own methods of work, the broadest public activity to maintain a high level of employment, decent wages and prosperity through the post war years.” (Ibid., p. 285.)
This is indeed a gem of “Marxian tactics.” The doubly exploited French Canadian workers are to achieve “decent wages and prosperity” through “the broadest public activity” with the help of the Labor Progressive Party. No doubt the French Canadian workers will duly appreciative of this consideration shown by the Labor Progressive Party.
The resolution also puts forward a “profound” program for the trade unions to follow:
“The trade union movement confronts problems of unprecedented magnitude. The shutdown of war industry with mass lay-offs will tend to diffuse union membership. The nation wide attempts to reduce the wage level will compel the trade union movement to fight for maintenance of take home pay. Reconversion will compel new intensive campaigns to organize the unorganized. To solve these problems and defend the interests of the workers while cooperating fully and loyally on joint Labor-Government-Employer bodies in post war reconstruction will be a supreme test of trade union leadership.” (Ibid., p. 284.)
One can at least agree with the latter part of the statement: “To live the problem” of “nation-wide attempts to reduce the wage level” and “defend the interests of the workers while cooperating fully and loyally on joint Labor-Government-Employer bodies” certainly would be “a supreme test of trade union leadership.” To maintain wage levels against “nation-wide attempts” to reduce them through having the leaders of unions “co-operate fully and loyally” with the managements is a policy that will, no doubt, duly impress the leaders of the trade unions to say nothing of the membership.
According to the L.P.P. resolution:
“... The struggle for aid to the liberation forces in China, to free India, of the fight for adequate lay-off pay in Canada, of the fight for more adequate social legislation will involve a measure of co-operation – at least to the extent of joint support for such measures – with sections of big business including sections of finance capital.” (Ibid., p. 282.)
This is indeed interesting! “To free India,” “secure adequate layoff pay” and “adequate social legislation” it is now necessary that labor co-operate with “big business.” The people of India, at least, will be interested to know of the proper procedure to follow in order to secure their freedom. The resolution goes further and claims that only through class collaboration can the interests of the working class be served:
“The fight to maintain the national front around post war policies in accord with the perspectives raised at Teheran is the only course by which, in the existing conditions the working class can strengthen itself, extend its organizations, raise its standard of life and advance its political role and influence in Canada.” (Ibid., p. 282.)
At the B.C. Provincial Convention of the L.P.P., held in September, 1945, Sam Carr, National organizer of the L.P.P., explained:
“National unity means unity of everyone in the Nation under the banner of Democracy. Democracy means homes, jobs, rehabilitation, freedom of speech and better education.” (The P.A., September 22, 194.)
Indeed! Now we are to have “unity of everyone in the nation,” and “under the banner” of bourgeois “democracy.” And this bourgeois democracy, if you please, means homes, jobs, better education, etc. Of course, to even mention the basic conflict of antagonistic classes in this glorification of capitalism would be considered sacrilege. So in the same speech we read:
“By raising the slogan of class against class we ignore the fact that all of the workers are not agreed on the policies of socialism, and that the entire bourgeoisie is not unanimous on the reactionary policies of finance capital. We ignore that we have in Canada millions of farmers and middle class people who must be provided with a banner of working class struggle emanating from the working class and not the bourgeoisie, and we therefore state that issues are the question of the day.” (Ibid.)
Very enlightening! Having already repudiated the class struggle in practice, the National organizer of the L.P.P., a professed Marxist, in effect now publicly repudiates the class struggle as the motive force in social progress.
Over sixty-six years ago Engels wrote:
“For almost forty years we have stressed the class struggle as the immediate driving force of history, and in particular the class struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie as the great lever of the modern social revolution; it is therefore impossible for us to co-operate with people who wish to expunge this class struggle from the movement.” (Marx, Engels, Selected Correspondence, p. 376.)
The question of whether or not all of the workers are “agreed on the policies of socialism” and whether or not the “entire bourgeoisie are unanimous on the reactionary policies of finance capital” has nothing to do with the question of the struggle of class against class. Under capitalism there never will be a time when all of the workers are agreed on the policies of socialism. And neither will there ever be a time when the “entire bourgeoisie” will be unanimous on any policy of reaction. Such statements are merely pedantic phrase-mongering.
Furthermore, the class struggle does not arise because some comical pedant raises the slogan of “class against class.” Engels explained the development of the political class struggle of the workers seventy-four years ago as follows:
“The attempt in a particular factory or even a particular industry to force a shorter working day out of the capitalists by strikes, etc., is a purely economic movement. On the other hand the movement to force an eight-hour day, etc., law is a political movement. And in this way, out of the separate economic movements of the workers there grows up everywhere a political movement, that is to say a movement of the class, with the object of achieving its interests in a form possessing a general social force of compulsion. If these movements presuppose a certain degree of previous organization, they are themselves equally a means of the development of this organization.” (Ibid., pp. 318-19.)
And as to the independent class role of the working class, Engels adds:
“Where the working class is not yet far enough advanced in its organization to undertake a decisive campaign against the collective power i.e., the political power of the ruling classes, it must at any rate be trained for this by continual agitation against and a hostile attitude towards the policy of the ruling classes. Otherwise it will remain a plaything in its hands.” ( Ibid.)
And this is precisely what the leadership of the L.P.P. have, by their policies, been attempting to do with the working class, make it a plaything in the hands of the Liberal bourgeoisie.
If “unity of everyone in the nation under the banner of democracy” is not a denial of the existence of classes with conflicting and antagonistic interests then words have lost all meaning. And yet it is now ninety-three years since Marx wrote:
“... No credit is due to me for discovering the existence of classes in modern society nor yet the struggle between them. Long before me bourgeois historians had described the historical development of the class struggle and bourgeois economists the economic anatomy of the classes. What I did was to prove: (1) That the existence of classes is only bound up with particular, historic phases in the development of production; (2) that the class struggle necessarily leads to the dictatorship of the proletariat; (3) that this dictatorship itself only constitutes the transition to the abolition of all classes and to a classless society.” (Ibid., p. 57.)
However, Marx was ruthless in his criticism of those who denied the existence of classes and of the class struggle:
“Ignorant louts like Heinzen who deny not merely the class struggle, but even the existence of classes, only prove that, despite all their bloodcurdling yelps and the humanitarian airs they give themselves, they regard the social conditions under which the bourgeoisie rule as the final product, the non plus ultra (final limit) of history, and that they are only the slaves of the bourgeoisie. And the less these clowns themselves understand even of the greatness and temporary necessity of the bourgeois regime the more disgusting is their servitude.” (Ibid., pp. 57-58.)
Lenin held a somewhat similar opinion of those who denied the class struggle. Said Lenin:
“Nicolai-on’s fundamental error is his failure to understand the class struggle, this necessary part of capitalism. This lack of understanding makes Nicolai-on into a Utopian, for a socialist by ignoring the class struggle in capitalist society, eo ipso (thereby) ignores the whole real content of the social political content of that society, and in order to realize his desire he inevitably takes refuge in the sphere of innocent dreams. This lack of understanding turns him into a reactionary, for the appeal to ’society’ and to the ’state’, i.e., to the ideologists and politicians of the bourgeoisie, confuses the socialist and leads him to take the worst enemies of the proletariat as his allies; it only obstructs the workers’ struggle for emancipation instead of increasing its strength and clarity and the greater organization of this struggle.” (Ibid., p. 361.)
The farther one goes the more stupidly absurd the entire statement of Carr becomes. First, we have “unity of everyone in the nation under the banner of democracy.” Then, to raise the slogan of “class against class” ignores the fact that not all of the workers are agreed on socialism and not all of the capitalists are agreed upon policies of reaction. But after having said all this, “millions of farmers and middle class people” “must be provided with a banner of working class struggle.” So! The banner of working class struggle is to be carried by the “millions of farmers and middle class people” while the working class themselves are not “to raise the slogan of class against class.”
But enough of this nonsense which is being palmed off on the working class as “scientific socialism” as “Marxism.”
Let us now compare the emasculated, distorted, revised and perverted theories of Marxism propounded by the National leadership of the L.P.P. and the theories as originally presented by the founders and greatest authorities of Marxism.
“The Teheran agreement... opens up possibilities for a period of great and far reaching economic and social progress, carried through in the spirit which now inspires the United Nations it can result in raising the level of economic activity and social progress throughout the world: complete reconstruction of Europe and parts of Asia, the building of new cities, new transportation systems, new industries and the revitalization of cultural life. These things would mean literally the building of a new world.” TIM BUCK (Unity or Chaos, pp. 10-11.)
“Is there a possibility of establishing a level of industrial activity which will provide full employment in the post war years? Yes, there is, and the outlines of the policies which will enable Canada to maintain such a level are becoming increasingly clear.” TIM BUCK, (Ibid., p. 23.)
Now compare Buck’s position with that of Lenin and the C.I.:
“Imperialism is the epoch of finance capital and of monopolies which introduce everywhere the striving for domination, not for freedom. The result of these tendencies is reaction all along the line, whatever the political system, and extreme intensification of antagonisms in this domain also.” LENIN (Imperialism, p. 109.)
“The break up of world economy into a capitalist and a socialist sector, the shrinking of markets and the anti-imperialist movement in the colonies intensify all contradictions of capitalism which is developing on a new post war basis. This very technical progress and rationalization of industry, the reverse side of which is the closing down and liquidation of numerous enterprises, the restriction of production, and the ruthless and destructive exploitation of labor power leads to chronic unemployment on a scale never before experienced.” Program of the C.I. (Handbook of Marxism, p. 980.).
“The Labor Progressive Party seeks to arouse the labor and farm movements to an understanding of the need for establishing parliamentary alliances between themselves through the medium of labor farmer parties, through electoral agreements and political co-operation of all kinds, in order to elect labor farmer governments to carry through urgent democratic reforms.” Program of L.P.P. (Program, p. 28.)
Now consider Lenin’s position:
“The masses of the rural toilers and exploited, whom the urban proletariat must lead into struggle, or at all events, win over to its side, are represented in all capitalist countries by the following classes: First, the agricultural proletariat, wage workers –
“Second, the semi-proletarian or parcelised peasants, i.e., those who obtain their livelihood partly as wage laborers in agriculture and industrial capitalist enterprises and partly by toiling on their own, or rented, plots of land –
“Third, the small peasantry, i.e., the small tillers of the soil who possess, either as their own property, or rent, small plots of land which enable them to meet the requirements of their families and their farms without hiring outside labor.
“... Bourgeois scientists do everything to obscure the wide gulf that separates the above mentioned classes in the rural district from the exploiters, the landlords and the capitalists, and which also separates the semi-proletarians and small peasants from the big peasants.” Lenin on the Agrarian Question. (Selected Works, Vol. IX, pp. 219-20-21.)
It is a recognized fact that the existing farm movements both economic and political, are dominated and led by the large bourgeois farmers and that consequently a “parliamentary alliance” with them under present conditions would be an alliance, not with those sections of the rural population which are the natural allies of the urban workers, but with the agrarian bourgeoisie. Hence, the program of the L.P.P. obscures the existence of class antagonisms in the countryside and advocates policies which Dimitroff termed the “unprincipled tactics” of “purely parliamentary agreements” which could only result in subordinating the rural poor and the labor movement to the agricultural bourgeoisie.
“The ideal towards which Canada’s foreign policy should aim is that of Canada playing a democratic role as a sovereign state in a world association of sovereign states.
“Such an ideal does not exclude or contradict continued Canadian membership in the British Commonwealth; on the contrary, it envisages development of Canada’s role in the Commonwealth to one of increasing importance.” TIM BUCK. (Canada’s Choice, p. 30.)
“Thus the Commonwealth, a voluntary association of free sovereign nations, is part of an Empire of which the vast colonial possessions belong, with minor exceptions, to the metropolis, (Britain, F.M.) of the Commonwealth alone.” TIM BUCK, (National Affairs, June, 1944, p. 68).
“As matters stand, it is no more possible for Canada to evade her share of responsibility for Empire policies than for the Canadian people to escape their results.” (Ibid.)
“Important as Empire trade will be to Canada after the war, Imperial preferences will be only secondary to the broader aim of a tremendous expansion of world trade in general. For Canadians it must be secondary even to a tariff agreement between Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States.
“Certainly Canada will not, cannot, agree to any Empire or Commonwealth policy which could bring us to cross purposes with the United States.” (Ibid., pp. 70-71.)
Here we have a program, outlined by a professed Marxist, for Canadian Imperialism to follow in the sphere of foreign policy. A program designed to bring the greatest amount of profit to Canadian monopoly capital through wider trade agreements while maintaining the present Imperial preference trade agreements within the Empire.
Consider the propositions which Buck here advances: Canada is a part of the British Commonwealth of Nations. The Commonwealth is composed of the dominant sovereign nations within the British Empire (the other countries of which are denied the right of self-government and independence and are subject nations).
It is not “possible for Canada to evade here share of responsibility for Empire policies,” or “for the Canadian people to escape their results.” Which means, in fact, that Canada must also share responsibility for the policies which hold in subjection the people of these “vast colonial possessions” whose population amounts to 600,000,000; over one-quarter of the population of the world. But Buck states, “Important as Empire trade will be,” i.e., sharing in the super-exploitation of the colonial people through Imperial preferences, it is also important to extend trade agreements with other countries. However, although Canada should play a “democratic role” as a “sovereign state,” this does not “exclude or contradict continued Canadian membership in the British Commonwealth; on the contrary, it envisages development of Canada’s role in the Commonwealth to one of increasing importance.”
In other words, while Canadian Imperialism should participate in “a tremendous expansion of world trade in general” it should also not only continue its membership in the Commonwealth and Empire but play “a role of increasing importance.”
Consider Lenin’s position on the Colonial question:
“Can a nation be free if it oppresses other nations? It cannot.” (Selected Works, Vol. IV, p. 267.)
And Lenin quotes Marx in connection with Ireland:
“... It is in the direct and absolute interest of the English working class to get rid of their connection with Ireland – The English working class will never accomplish anything before it has got rid of Ireland – English reaction in England had its roots ... in the subjugation of Ireland.” (Marx’s italics).
“Imperialism is the progressing oppression of the nations of the world by a handful of Great Powers; it is the epoch in which the masses of the people are deceived by the hypocritical social-patriots, i.e., people who under the pretext of ’freedom of nations,’ ’right of nations to self-determination,’ and ’defense of the fatherland,’ justify and defend oppression of a majority of the world’s nations by the Great Powers.
“This is precisely why the central point in the Social-Democratic programme must be the distinction between oppressing and oppressed nations, which is the essence of imperialism, which is falsely evaded by the social-chauvinists. This distinction is not important from the point of view of bourgeois pacifism, or the petty-bourgeois Utopia of peaceful competition among independent nations under capitalism, but it is most important from the point of view of the revolutionary struggle against Imperialism.” (Selected Works, Vol. V, p. 284.)
Writing in Socialism and War, Lenin stated:
“The Socialists cannot reach their great aim without fighting against every form of national oppression... A Socialist of a great nation or a nation possessing colonies who does not defend this right is a chauvinist.” (Socialism and War, p. 25.)
Lenin concludes the chapter as follows:
”No people oppressing, other nations can be free.” (Marx and Engels). No proletariat reconciling itself to the least violation by “its” nation of the rights pf other nations can be socialist.” (Ibid., p. 26.)
Can it be denied that Canada’s continued membership in the British Empire, through the medium of the British Commonwealth, in view of the fact it has sovereignty, is for the chief purpose of participating with the other commonwealth states, by means of Imperial preference trade agreements, in the joint super-exploitation and subjugation of the colonial peoples? No! It cannot be denied. Can it be denied that the working class of Canada must also share “responsibility for Empire policies” as an integral part of the Empire? No! It cannot.
Can it be denied that by sharing responsibility for such policies, which include colonial oppression and participation in the exploitation of the colonial people, that the Canadian working class is “reconciling itself to” the “violation by its nation of the rights of other nations?” No! Neither can this fact be denied.
And how does the “Marxist,” Tim Buck, propose to deal with this problem? “By developing Canada’s role in the Commonwealth to one of increasing importance” and by making “Imperial preferences secondary to the broader aim of a tremendous expansion of world trade.”
In other words, by “bigger and better” methods of expanding markets and exploitation by Canadian monopoly capital.
So much for the treatment of the Colonial Question by the leadership of the Labor Progressive Party.
“A nation is an historically evolved, stable community of language, territory, economic life, and psychological make-up manifested in a community of culture.” Stalin.
Does French Canada constitute a nation in accordance with the above definition? Yes! It certainly does. French Canada has existed as a stable community for over 300 years, i.e., over a century before English settlement in Canada. French Canada has a common language and territory, a highly developed and well-balanced economy and a developed culture that is specifically French Canadian. French Canada was conquered by the British in 1759 and forcibly brought under British rule.
According to Tim Buck:
“Inequalities still persist in French Canada.” And further: “The low wage level, the intolerably low standard of public education and social services, the high rate of infant mortality, the high death rate from tuberculosis are but evidence of the conditions created by the systematic economic discrimination from which the workers, farmers, and lower middle class people of the towns and cities, suffer in the province of Quebec.” (Unity or Chaos, p. 31.) The statement of the August, 1945, National Committee meeting , of the L.P.P. claims:
“The struggle again social inequalities remains an outstanding task in Quebec.” (National Affairs, October, 1945, p. 285.)
According to Stanley Ryerson, the L.P.P. “authority” on French Canada:
“The low wages paid to the French Canadian workers in Quebec are a curse to the whole Quebec people.
“As regards infant mortality, while the rate for Canada as a whole per 1,000 live births was 59.7, that of Three Rivers, Quebec was 297. In other words, almost one of every three babies born in Three Rivers died before it was a year old because of poverty and inadequate health services.”
And how do Buck and Ryerson propose to overcome these admitted inequalities. According to Buck:
“Correction of this situation is a National duty. Leadership in its correction should come from the Dominion Government.” (Unity or Chaos, p. 31.)
And according to Ryerson:
“The raising of the low living standards which monopoly rule has inflicted on Quebec is a common, Canadian responsibility, requiring federal as well as provincial government action.” (French Canada, p. 178.)
And according to the L.P.P. program:
“The party presses the governments, provincial and federal, to take immediate measures to redress the burning grievances of the French Canadian people.” (Program, p. 9.)
But enough of these caricatures of Marxism, let us now consider the Marxian position on the National Question.
According to Lenin:
“We demand the freedom of self-determination, i.e., the freedom of secession for the oppressed nations, not because we dream of economic disintegration, or because we cherish the ideal of small states, but, on the contrary, because we are in favour of large states, and of the closer unity and even the fusion of nations, but on a truly democratic, truly international basis, which is inconceivable without the freedom of secession.” (Selected Works, Vol. V, p. 289.)
“The Social-Democrats of the oppressing nations must demand the freedom of secession for the oppressed nations, for otherwise recognition of the equal rights of nations and of the international solidarity of the workers in reality remains an empty phrase, mere hypocrisy.” (Ibid., p. 284.)
In these two quotations Lenin makes it clear that democratic unity: of nations is inconceivable, and the equality of nations, is an empty phrase unless such democratic unity and equality is based on the right of secession.
However, what position does the Labor Progressive Party take? The program reads: “... Political equality was won for French Canada by the joint struggle of the Reformers and the Patriots of Upper and Lower Canada a century ago,” and then, in the next page, proves the opposite: “These elements of National inequality stem from over a century of deliberate maintenance of feudal restrictions in the province of Quebec, and from Government policies designed to keep French Canada as a zone of specially profitable exploitation.”
Such an absurd contradiction could not arise from Marxian dialectics but only from petty bourgeois eclecticism.
Ryerson, in his so-called “authoritative work,” French Canada, states:
“The position of the French Canadians is that of a nation which has won the essentials of political equality ” within the Canadian Federal state....”
What are the essentials of political equality for a minority nation within a given state? According to Lenin the essential question is, the right to secede and form an independent state. Has Ryerson or the leadership of the Communist movement in Canada ever advanced the demand for the right of secession for French Canada during the twenty-three years since the Communist Party was first formed? If they have, there is no evidence of it.
On this point Lenin wrote:
“The Socialist of an oppressing nation, who does not conduct propaganda, both in peace and wartime, in favor of the freedom of secession for the oppressed nations, is not a socialist and not an internationalist, but a chauvinist.” (Selected Works, Vol. V, p. 287.)
Of Socialists who did not champion the right of secession for a minority nation on the excuse that it was “utopian” or of those who regarded it as “excessive” Lenin wrote:
“They justify their opportunism, they make it easier to deceive the people, they evade precisely the question of the frontiers of a state which forcibly retains subject nations, etc.
“Both groups are opportunists who prostitute Marxism and who have lost all capacity to understand the theoretical significance and the practical urgency of Marx’s tactics, an example of which he gave in relation to Ireland.” (Ibid., p. 277.)
Our examination has shown that the leadership of the L.P.P., in dealing with the National and Colonial questions as regards the British Empire and French Canada, have also prostituted Marxism.
Frederick Engels, in The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State, characterized the State as follows:
“As the state arose out of the need to hold class antagonisms in check; but as it, at the same time arose in the midst of the conflict of these classes, it is, as a rule the state of the most powerful, economically dominant class politically, and thus acquires new means of holding down and exploiting the oppressed class.”
“The modern representative state,” Engels added, “is the instrument of the exploitation of wage labor by capital.”
This explanation of the state is quite simple and understandable: The class which is dominant economically, by virtue of that fact, is as a rule, also dominant politically.
This dominant class acquires state power because of the need “to hold class antagonisms in check” and having achieved power “acquires new means of holding down and exploiting the oppressed class.” In modern society, therefore, the state “is the instrument of the exploitation of wage labor by capital.”
“A standing army and police,” Lenin said, “are the chief instruments of state power.” (State and Revolution, p. 19.)
“In a democratic republic, Engels continues, wealth wields its power indirectly, but all the more effectively, first by means of ’direct corruption of officials’ (America); second, by means of ’the alliance of the government with the stock exchange’ (France and America).” (Ibid., p. 13.)
The state, then, according to Engels and Lenin, is the instrument of the capitalist class generally and of its most powerful section, monopoly capital in particular, for the oppression and exploitation of wage labor, i.e., the working class.
Now try and reconcile this position of Marx, Engels and Lenin with Tim Buck:
“The powerful sentiment for labor representation makes it possible to win a place for labor as an independent partner in a government representing the unity of the overwhelming majority of Canadians around policies in accord with the new world perspective outlined at Teheran. Establishment of such a government, with labor as a full partner in it, would open a new and higher stage of National progress in Canada.” (What Kind of Government, p. 11.)
Or take the position of Stewart Smith:
“State policy after the war as during the war can achieve very great results in making the system work, and it is essential that the working class should support such a policy. But this can only have meaning when understood as an agreement between labor and the decisive sections of monopoly capital.” (National Affairs Monthly, June, 1944, p. 74.)
So! “Labor and decisive sections of monopoly capital” should have an agreement to “make the system work” through “state policy.” The state is no longer to be an “instrument of oppression” of labor by monopoly capital but labor and monopoly capital are to jointly use the state to “make the system work.”
This L.P.P. concept of the state is really “brilliant.”
How correct Lenin was when he wrote:
“The petty-bourgeois democrats, these sham socialists who have substituted for the class struggle dreams of harmony between classes, imagined even the transition to socialism in a dreamy fashion – not in the form of the overthrow of the rule of the exploiting class, but in the form of the peaceful submission of the minority to a majority conscious of its aims. This petty-bourgeois Utopia, indissolubly connected with the idea of the state being above classes, in practice led to the betrayal of the interests of the toiling classes...
“Marx fought all his life against this petty-bourgeois socialism.” (State and Revolution, p. 23.)
Speaking of the major issues of the post-war, Buck claimed:
“These great issues will be fought out, in the main, on the field of parliamentary activity.” (Victory Through Unity, p. 18.)
As if in answer to this sophism, Lenin wrote in 1917:
“Take any parliamentary country, from America to Switzerland, from France to England, Norway and so forth – the actual work of the ’state’ there is done behind the scenes and is carried out by departments, the offices and the staffs, Parliament itself is given up to talk for the special purpose of fooling the ’common people.’” (State and Revolution, p. 40.)
The glaring contradiction between the estimation of the state by Tim Buck and Stewart Smith on the one hand, and Marx, Engels and Lenin on the other, is clear for all to see.
“The Labor Progressive Party is the political organization of the workers, farmers, professional people and all other Canadians who toil by hand or brain.” (L.P.P. Constitution, p. 1.)
Compare this concept with Lenin:
“Social Democracy absolutely insists on the need for complete independence for the party of the proletariat.” (Selected Works, Vol. III, p. 121.)
Or with this:
“By educating a Workers’ Party, Marxism educates the vanguard of the proletariat, capable of assuming power and of leading the whole people to socialism, of directing and organizing the new order, of being the teacher, guide and leader of all the toiling and exploited in the task of building up their social life without the bourgeoisie and against the bourgeoisie. As against this, the opportunism predominant at present breeds in the workers’ parties, representatives of the better paid workers, who lose touch with the rank-and-file, ’get along’ fairly well under capitalism, and sell their birthright for a mess of pottage, i.e., renounce their role of revolutionary leaders of the people against the bourgeoisie.” (State and Revolution, pp. 23-24.)
The constitution of the L.P.P. further states that:
“The Labor Progressive Party defends the institutions and rights of popular liberty against any subversive and reactionary minority groups who may seek to destroy them.”
And the preamble concludes:
“There is no place in this party for any individual or group seeking to undermine, subvert or abrogate democracy.”
Compare this attitude towards bourgeois democracy with that of Lenin:
“Bourgeois democracy, while constituting a great historical advance in comparison with mediaevalism, nevertheless remains and cannot but remain under capitalism, restricted, truncated, false and hypocritical, a paradise for the rich and a trap and snare and a deception for the exploited, for the poor.” (The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky, p. 26.)
“We are governed (and our state is ’run’) by bourgeois bureaucrats, by bourgeois judges – such is the simple, indisputable and obvious truth, which tens and hundreds of millions of the exploited classes in all bourgeois countries, including the most democratic, know from their living experience, feel and realize every day.” (Ibid., p. 31.)
But “Proletarian democracy,” said Lenin, “is a million times more democratic than any bourgeois democracy; the Soviet government is a million times more democratic than the most democratic bourgeois republic.” (Ibid., p. 30.)
What the constitution of the L.P.P. should have stated and which the action of their leadership has proven, is: “There is no place in this Party for any individual or group seeking to replace bourgeois democracy with proletarian democracy, with socialism.”
Having repudiated the very foundation of Marxism, the doctrine of the class struggle, the theoreticians of the Labor Progressive Party naturally could not speak of the Theory of the Proletarian Revolution, i.e., the period in which the working class would take political power and, as Lenin said, substitute the dictatorship of the proletariat for the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie.
Neither could or did they refer to the dictatorship of the proletariat nor the theory of socialism except in a vague, distorted and unintelligible way. For instance, the question of capturing political power and establishing socialism is referred to by Buck as follows:
“This mighty democratic upsurge marks a tremendous forward step. It will bring lasting benefits to the majority of the people, however, only if, out of it, there is developed a unified political movement of workers, farmers and middle class people who can guide that movement steadily forward in a struggle to elect farmer-labor governments and finally a government that will establish socialism in Canada.” (Victory Through Unity, p. 56.)
About all the sense one can gather from this is that sometime, in the distant future, the “progressive workers, farmers and middle class people” will “struggle to elect” a “government that will establish socialism in Canada.”
So! The Theory of the Proletarian Revolution, the Theory of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat and the Theory of Socialism are all disposed of, in such a manner as to constitute a complete perversion of Marxism, in one garbled sentence.
Writing on these questions in August, 1917, Lenin expressed the following viewpoint:
“Let us, however, cast a general glance over the history of the more advanced countries during the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries. We shall see that the same process has been going on more slowly, in more varied forms, on a much wider field: on the one hand a development of parliamentary power, not only in the republican countries (France, America, Switzerland), but also in the monarchies (England, Germany to a certain extent, Italy, the Scandinavian countries, etc.); on the other hand, a struggle for power of various bourgeois and petty-bourgeois parties distributing and redistributing the ’spoils’ of official berths, the foundations of capitalist society remaining all the while unchanged; finally, the perfecting and strengthening of the ’executive power,’ its bureaucratic and military apparatus.
“There is no doubt that these are the features common to the latest stage in the evolution of all capitalist states generally...
“Imperialism in particular – the era of banking capital, the era of gigantic capitalist monopolies, the era of the transformation of monopoly capital into state monopoly capitalism – shows an unprecedented strengthening of the state machinery and an unprecedented growth of its bureaucratic and military apparatus, side by side with the increase of repressive measures against the proletariat, alike in the monarchial and the freest republican countries.” (State and Revolution, pp. 28-29.)
This description of the modern capitalist state and the struggle of middle class and capitalist parties for the “spoils of official berths” while the foundation of capitalist society and its state apparatus remain basically unchanged, is as true today as it was when it was written twenty-eight years ago.
In the same chapter Lenin pointed out how opportunism evaded the question of state power. Lenin wrote:
“Opportunism does not lead the recognition of class struggle up to the main point, up to the period of transition from capitalism to communism, up to the period of overthrowing and completely abolishing the bourgeoisie. In reality this period inevitably becomes a period of unusually violent class struggles in their sharpest possible forms and, therefore the state during this period inevitably must be a state that is democratic in a new way (for the proletariat and the poor in general) and dictatorial in a new way (against the bourgeoisie).
“Further, the substance of the teachings of Marx about the state is assimilated only by one who understands that the dictatorship of a single class is necessary not only for any class generally not only for the proletariat which has overthrown the bourgeoisie but for the entire historic period which separates capitalism from ’classless society,’ from Communism. The forms of bourgeois states are exceedingly variegated, but their essence is the same: in one way or another, all these states are in the last analysis inevitably a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. The transition from Capitalism to Communism will certainly bring a great variety and abundance of political forms, but the essence will inevitably be only one: the dictatorship of the proletariat.” (Ibid., p. 30.)
Instead of organizing, unifying and educating the working class as to the real character of capitalism, the need of socialism and the methods to be employed in achieving socialism, the leadership of the L.P.P. has done the exact opposite: glorification of capitalism, repudiation of socialism and has attempted to abolish in theory, class distinctions and the real role of political parties. In fact, the federal platform of the L.P.P. attempts to outdo the platforms of the bourgeois parties themselves in singing paeons of praise to Imperialism and submitting plans for the further expansion and development of Canadian imperialism in order to make Canada a bigger and better Imperialist power.
The following extracts from the L.P.P. 1945 Federal Election Platform illustrate perfectly the degree to which the L.P.P. has degenerated into a petty-bourgeois, liberal-labor party, whose main task is glorification of Canadian Imperialism:
“We can establish a partnership between labor, management and government for reconversion from war to peace-time industry.
“We can maintain in the peace the high level of national income that has been achieved during the war.
“We can restrict monopolistic practices, protect small businesses and give full scope to the development of our national resources.
“We can establish the eight-hour day and 40-hour week at decent wages and guarantee, by law, the right to trade union organization and collective bargaining.
“We can extend to all of Canada’s youth the fullest opportunity to learn, to train and to be usefully employed.
“We can ensure to the women of Canada full equality of opportunity, to enable them to play their rightful part in public affairs and industry.
“We can safeguard the right to publish and speak our thoughts, to worship in our own way, and freely organize politically.
“We can live together, in harmony, English and French Canadian through the enjoyment of equal rights in a Confederation brought up to date by constitutional reforms.
“The approaching victory of the peoples will make possible long years of world prosperity on the secure foundation of United Nations friendship and co-operation. Canada, as a leading exporting nation, must play her full part in the reconstruction of liberated Europe and Asia. Increased world trade, together with rising living standards at home, will enable Canada to maintain her present National income and a high level of prosperity after the war.
“These things can be done (their italics), provided there is unity of the democratic, forward-looking forces in Canadian life. They will not be done if the Tory enemies of the people’s interest and democratic reforms are allowed to capture federal power through a coalition of reactionary forces.”
This set of Utopian election promises in the “traditional style” of Canadian bourgeois politics is in actual fact an attempt to outdo even the bourgeois Liberal Party. The points which have been italicised constitute a direct repudiation of Marxism. But the L.P.P. leadership claim “these things can be done, provided there is unity of the democratic, forward-looking forces.”
In place of the Marxian concepts of the contradictions of Capitalism, of the class struggle, of the role of parties as representatives of classes, we have a fairy story about the division of society, on the one hand, into “progressive,” “democratic,” “forward-looking forces” and on the other hand, “sinister forces,” “reactionary forces,” “Toryism,” etc. A division which transcends all class lines and party lines.
The balance of the election platform constitutes, in large part, a platform for Canadian monopoly capital to follow for the greater glory of Canadian Imperialism. In the first section we read:
“The central problem of Dominion government policy after the war will be to maintain the national income and public purchasing power at a prosperity level. This can be done! The war has proved that the nation, through its elected government, can direct its economy so as to maintain any desired level of production within our physical capacity.”
This is indeed a “scientific” assertion for professional “Marxists” to make. But to continue with the instructions of the L.P.P. leadership to the Canadian capitalist class on how to “make capitalism work,” we get the following:
“Hand in hand with reconversion the minister of Reconstruction should see to the establishment of vital basic industries in Canada – production of aviation engines, expansion of iron ore smelting, modern synthetics and plastics, more extensive use of Canada’s vast resources of coal and petroleum, etc.
“The Canadian government must assume responsibility for maintaining our national exports at a level of two billion dollars a year. This can be done through government aid in the organization of private and government large-scale long-term loans, export credits and lend-lease aid to the countries devastated by the war, to Latin America and to the economically backward colonies of Asia and Africa.
“Canada’s government must ensure that every Canadian obtains adequate food, clothing and shelter, medical care, opportunities for education, a career in youth and unworried comfort in old age.
“Increased utilization of the Hudson’s Bay Railway and the Bay ports.
“The services of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation must be extended and improved as an educational and cultural medium.
“Adopt an official Canadian flag and proclaim ’O Canada’ the national anthem of our country.
“In the British Commonwealth, Canada must continue to pursue the policy enunciated by Prime Minister McKenzie King at the 1944 conference of Commonwealth Ministers.
“Canada should become a member of the Pan-American Union and participate in all its conferences and other activities.
“Our Dominion government should aim at the largest possible measure of freedom of trade between Canada and the rest of the world, the reduction of tariff barriers and other obstacles to world economic co-operation, through the joint efforts of the United Nations.
“The Department of External Affairs must be elevated to a full Ministry of the government, headed by a Minister for Foreign Affairs.
“We should extend full diplomatic representation to all countries with which Canada maintains trade and diplomatic relationships.”
Thus we see how revolutionary Marxism was transformed, by the Canadian “Marxists,” into its opposite: opportunism, reformism; vulgarized, distorted, revised and emasculated of its revolutionary content; instead of the science of working class strategy and tactics in the struggle for socialism it has been perverted into a program for the development of Canadian Imperialism.
How correct Lenin was, when he stated:
“Opportunism is our principal enemy. Opportunism in the upper ranks of the working class movement is not proletarian socialism, but bourgeois socialism. Practise has shown that the active people in the working class movement who adhere to the opportunist trend are better defenders of the bourgeoisie, than the bourgeoisie itself. Without their leadership of the workers, the bourgeoisie could not have remained in power.” (Selected Works, Vol. X. p. 196.)