Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Canadian Communist League (Marxist-Leninist)

Draft Program for a new communist party

1. Capitalism is a system of exploitation

The working people of Canada are the ones who built this country, its industries, farms and cities. Canada is rich in natural resources. It is capable of satisfying the needs of all its people. But today the great majority of our people are faced with ever-rising prices, the threat of unemployment and cutbacks in health and other services.

The two basic classes in our society, the working class and the bourgeoisie, are locked in a bitter struggle. The bourgeoisie represents the old system of exploitation and oppression. The working class represents the fundamental progressive force, the most consistent social force in the struggle to eliminate capitalism.

A handful of Canadian capitalists control our country and make fabulous profits off the labour of working people and the oppressed nationalities. All the major means of production - the factories, the mines, telecommunications and transportation – are concentrated in the hands of a few thousand capitalists who employ millions of workers.

Within this Canadian bourgeoisie there is a particularly powerful core of monopolies such as Power Corporation,Argus Corporation, Canadian Pacific, and Noranda.

With the monopolies that they control, 160 Canadian families have built up fortunes of over $20 million each. Some of these parasites have personal fortunes of over $100 million. They include families like Weston (food sector), Irving (oil) and the Bronfmans (distilling), to name but a few.

There are also foreign imperialists, particularly from the US, who own many mines and factories in Canada. They even control whole economic sectors like auto and oil.

The working class is exploited

But for the workers, the future is less and less certain. The exploitation and oppression gets worse every year. Today a million Canadians are out of work. Inflation is running at about 10% a year. Groceries that cost $30 in 1968 cost $75 at the beginning of ’79. And wage increases do not come close to covering the galloping inflation.

An alarming number of familles are in debt. At the end of 1978, families were indebted to the tune of $35 billion to the banks, the finance companies and the large retail stores for essential goods (this doesn’t include mortgages). On the average this is $1500 per Canadian!

Each year over 1100 workers are killed in work accidents. Thousands of others are dying slowly of industrial diseases or are mutilated for life.

All this misery is created so a small clique of very wealthy individuals can continue to line their pockets.

Every bit of capitalists’ vast possessions was stolen from the Canadian people. It’s the capitalists that get rich by appropriating the fruits of our labour. At the end of a work week the worker collects his pay. The capitalists claim this is a fair exchange. But it is highway robbery.

In reality, a worker gets paid for only a small part of the value he produced. The rest, the surplus value, goes straight into the boss’s pocket.

The bosses get rich, not because they have “taken risks” or “worked harder,” as they would have us believe. The more they keep wages down and reduce the number of employees with speed-ups, the more they can steal from us and the greater their profits.

And if the boss thinks he can make more profit somewhere else, he just closes his factory and throws the workers out on the street.

The idea that everyone can get rich under this system is a lie invented by the rich themselves. Under capitalism, the only way to get rich is to trample on someone else. This is why workers have only one choice: either submit to this wage slavery or fight it!

Capitalism is a system based on exploitation. A handful of parasites live off the backs of the workers and could not care less about their situation. This is how they came to pocket over $26 billion in profits in 1978.

The idea that everyone can get rich under this system is a lie invented by the rich themselves. Under capitalism, the only way to get rich is to trample on someone else. This is why workers have only one choice: either submit to this wage slavery or fight it!

Oppression Of The People

Capitalism is not just the exploitation of the working class; it is also the oppression of the masses of working people.

In addition to the working class, there are hundreds of thousands of small property owners, farmers, shop-keepers and fishermen who are crushed and ruined daily by big capital. In the cities, lower-level civil servants and teachers face a drop in their standard of living.

There are more than 8 million Canadians – a third of the population – who belong to oppressed nationalities: the Quebecois people, Native peoples, Acadians, the French-spreaking minorities outside Quebec, Black and Chinese Canadians who suffer a double oppression which can be particularly brutal. Their fundamental rights are denied them. Their language, culture, their national heritage and their territorial rights are all trampled upon.

The masses of working women are also bitterly oppressed. The capitalists refuse to recognize women’s right to a job and other basic democratic rights.

In our country, working youth are also subjected to this system of exploitation.

The fundamental political rights of new immigrants are also denied. Most third-world immigrants – Indians, Blacks from the Caribbean, etc. – are also subjected to discrimination and racist attacks.

So it is clearly the vast majority of the Canadian people who carry the burden of capitalism.

Bourgeois democracy is a hoax

The capitalists and their spokesmen endlessly vaunt the merits of our country where “everyone has an equal opportunity,” and “democracy rules.” But the truth is that capitalist democracy is a hoax: a paradise for the rich and powerful, a trap and an illusion for the exploited and the poor.

Does an ordinary worker have “the same opportunities” as millionaires like Bronfman and Conrad Black?

What does democracy in Canada amount to? It is democracy for the capitalists, but for the masses of working people, democracy is restricted and illusory. In fact, we are given the right to choose, every four or five years, which gang of thieves will run the country.

After years of hard and determined struggle, the Canadian people have won certain basic rights like freedom of the press and the right to strike. But even these rights are limited and constantly violated. Freedom of the press doesn’t amount to much when the capitalists’ newspapers and media can spend millions of dollars to spread their lies, while the workers’ press has to struggle to get each issue out.

As for the right to strike, it is constantly restricted or taken away altogether by special back-to-work laws, injunctions, police assaults, the bosses’ hired guns and the frequent use of scabs.

And when their power is threatened, the capitalists can always call on their politicians to pass laws abolishing our hard-won rights. They did just that in 1931 when they outlawed the Communist Party under the criminal code, or in 1970 when they invoked the War Measures Act and sent the army into Quebec.

Bourgeois democracy is nothing but hypocrisy. The pretty speeches about freedom and equality are hollow phrases if you look at the flagrant inequalities and the oppression they try to conceal. No matter where we look, we face the same harsh contradiction between the formal equality proclaimed by the capitalists and the thousands of real restrictions with which the capitalists keep the workers in chains.

The State Is An Instrument Of Bourgeois Domination

The state apparatus – federal and provincial parliaments, the army, police, etc. – is in fact an instrument which the ruling bourgeois class uses to maintain its domination over the working class and the people. No matter which party is in power, the state’s role is to protect capitalist private property and defend its interests. The police will not attack scabs to block them from entering a factory on strike, and the government will never force companies to pay better wages.

The government has a thousand ties with the big capitalists. Government commissions and boards are made up of industrialists and financiers. Politicians meet daily with the leading employers, and many of them, like Trudeau, Stanfield, Parizeau and Lougheed, have their own personal fortunes.

In essence the state is a repressive armed force. The army and the police are used to stamp out all resistance to exploitation and oppression by Canadian workers, the oppressed nationalities and all the people. How could this small group of capitalist parasites hope to run the country without these repressive forces?

Stamping out Native people’s resistance in 1869 and 1885; smashing the Winnipeg General Strike in 1919; shooting striking miners in Estevan, Saskatchewan in 1931; raiding union offices, arresting strikers, infiltrating workers’ organizations, issuing injunctions forbidding work stoppages – this is the dirty work done by the capitalists’ repressive forces.

The state is also used as an economic tool by the bourgeoisie. When the capitalists need to develop certain sectors I of the economy that require large initial investments, when they need to protect certain industries that are essential to the entire bourgeoisie (like transport), when they face bankruptcy or in sectors that produce little profit (health care and hospital services), the state just steps in and nationalizes them.

These nationalizations in no way mean the Canadian people control or benefit from these companies. It just means our taxes will pay to keep these companies going while the whole capitalist class benefits. Meanwhile, the workers of these nationalized companies are subjected to the same conditions as workers in private industry.

The state also serves to spread bourgeois ideology. To get the people to accept this system of bourgeois dictatorship, the ruling class also makes use of a whole series of education and propaganda institutions: the schools, radio and television networks, etc., through which it spreads its lies daily.

We are taught to respect private property, to obey the laws; all values are distorted to maintain bourgeois morality and to keep workers within the limits established by the capitalists.

A system in crisis

Canada is presently in the throes of a serious economic and political crisis. Unemployment and inflation keep on rising. Between 1975-78, the Canadian economy functioned at only 85% of its capacity.

How is it possible to have such a crisis in a country so rich in natural resources, manpower and technology? Crises like these are an integral part of capitalism. They are rooted in the capitalist class’s insatiable thirst for profits.

These economic crises break out regularly. Some, like the Great Depression of the ’30s and the present crisis, are particularly serious.

They are, in essence, crises of overproduction. Each capitalist is out to make the most profit, and to achieve this he produces as many goods as possible. At the same time, he keeps wages as low as possible. Working people cannot afford to buy the very goods they have produced and the market is flooded.

This is the anarchy of capitalism: enormous wealth is produced, but those who have created it cannot afford the fruits of their own labour!

When capitalism has reached its highest stage, monopoly capitalism, imperialism – as is the case in Canada today – these cyclical crises are even more disastrous. They last longer, are more severe, and the periods of recovery are shorter. These crises spread around the world to all the capitalist countries. The system as a whole is plunged into crisis.

The bourgeoisie has tried everything over the years to put an end to these crises. It has resorted to massive government spending to try to stimulate the economy. It has given huge gifts to the big bourgeoisie and American companies in Canada.

It has used cutbacks, wage freezes and all sorts of attacks against working people, intensifying the different forms of capitalist oppression. By all these means the bourgeoisie searches to transfer the weight of the crisis onto the working class.

The present capitalist crisis in Canada is more than just an economic crisis. It is also a serious political crisis.

The different groups of capitalists, the sections or fractions of the bourgeoisie, are engaged in deadly competition each trying to seize more power and profit and control over the economy. The bourgeoisie itself is wracked with divisions and contradictions. At the same time, no political party can offer real convincing solutions to the problems facing the country. The working class’s anger, its struggles for its demands and its refusal to pay the price of the crisis intensify daily. The economic crisis has also accentuated national oppression in Canada, and this has stirred up the increased resistance of the people of these nationalities.

The Quebec nationalist bourgeoisie is trying to use the Quebecois people’s resistance to oppression to serve its own ends. Its goal is to separate Quebec in order to gain more political power and to become itself a powerful monopoly capitalist class. This rivalry between the monopoly bourgeoisie and the Quebec nationalist bourgeois fraction is threatening to split the country in two.

While the political and economic crisis is developing, the social crisis is also worsening. As people lose hope and their lives become meaningless, marriages fall apart and pornography, rape, murder, drug abuse, violence and crimes increase. These are also a product of the capitalist system, the signs of a rotting structure that is beginning to collapse.

The working class must overthrow capitalism

The working class has always fought against the capitalists. The fight for the eight-hour day, the Winnipeg General Strike in 1919, the fight to organize the auto and steel industries in the ’30s and ’40s, all these battles and many more make up the militant tradition of the Canadian proletariat. And when the Communist Party of Canada had a revolutionary line, it led the workers in the battle against capitalist domination.

Under capitalism, the fundamental contradiction in society is between the social character of production and the private ownership of the means of production. More and more workers conic to work together in modern industry, which is capable of providing for the needs of all the people. But the means of production are in the hands of an ever-smaller number of billionaires whose only goal it to maximize profits.

In class terms, this contradiction translates into the struggle between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat.

This is the principal contradiction in Canadian society at this time. The development of the struggle between these two classes has marked the history of our country.

This contradiction is antagonistic. There can never be class peace between exploiter and exploited, between boss and worker. The capitalists will fight to the end to protect their doomed system. If need be they will resort to the guns of their police and their army.

The working class, for its part, cannot eliminate exploitation and poverty unless it overthrows the capitalist system. And it cannot accomplish this without also taking up arms. The only argument that the bourgeoisie understands is the one it uses daily against us – brute force.

Under the leadership of its Party the proletariat must rise up and make socialist revolution.

It must wipe away the nightmare of capitalism. It must destroy the bourgeoisie’s state apparatus, its Parliament, its courts of “justice”, its prisons and its army, and set up a workers’ state with power in the hands of the working people. The dictatorship of the proletariat, the workers’ state, will guarantee the greatest possible democracy for working people by exercising a dictatorship over the bourgeoisie and preventing it from retaking power.

Only socialism can respond to the just aspirations of the working class and the Canadian people.

The proletariat will overthrow the capitalists and build socialism and communism.

This is the historic task of the working class!