Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Canadian Communist League (Marxist-Leninist)

Draft Program for a new communist party

6. The political parties of the bourgeoisie

In order to maintain their class rule the capitalists in Canada have a number of political parties and forces to defend their interests. These parties and groups have different names, defend different policies, and use different rhetoric, but all serve the ruling class to maintain its domination over the workers.

One of the most important tasks of our Party is to wage a determined struggle to expose these bourgeois parties and win the workers from their influence and to the cause of the socialist revolution.

Liberals and Conservatives: the main parties of the bourgeoisie

The Liberals and the Progressive Conservatives are the main parties of the Canadian monopoly bourgeoisie. Historically, the Liberal Party has proven to be the principal tool of the capitalists, governing 57 years out of the last 78 in this century, with the Conservatives replacing them when the Liberals were totally discredited.

Each party claims it is the most fit to run the country, and criticizes the shortcomings of the other. Over the last few years, the Liberals in Ottawa presented themselves as champions of French rights and a strong central government, while the Conservatives put themselves forward as the defender of provincial rights and promised an end to “government interference in private enterprise.” But despite minor differences that change from one year to the next, the two parties have almost identical programs on the major issues. They both agree to step up exploitation and oppression of working people making them carry the burden of the crisis.

The two parties merely compete to prove who is the most faithful servant of monopoly capital, while they throw out a few crumbs to the masses to pick up votes.

These big capitalist parties stand not only for the exploitation of workers but also for continued national oppression. Both allow and collaborate with the continued US imperialist domination over Canada.

Social Credit

Other smaller, but equally reactionary parties, like the Social Credit Party, sometimes add variety to the images and rhetoric projected for the bosses, but they are essentially no different from the Liberals and Conservatives.

At its outset, the Social Credit was a party of the petty and middle bourgeoisie calling for a return to “free enterprise.” It has gained some influence in some rural areas of Quebec.

In B.C. the Socreds headed the provincial government for a total of 25 years after the Second World War. They have enacted the same type of legislation – cutbacks and anti-union laws – as the Conservatives and Liberals are hatching across the country. In B.C. the Social Credit is just another party of the big bourgeoisie.

New Democratic Party: a phoney workers’ party

The NDP claims to be a party of workers – in fact it too is a party of the bourgeoisie. The NDP is a right social-democratic party representing the labour aristocracy, the petty-bourgeoisie, and certain elements of the middle bourgeoisie.

This party wants to reform certain aspects of capitalism but still leave the bourgeoisie a free hand to make millions by exploiting the working class.

The NDP’s so-called democratic socialism or social-democracy with which they try to fool people is neither democratic nor socialist. Canadian workers have seen it in practice whenever the NDP has held power; in B.C., Manitoba or Saskatchewan.

For the workers, it has meant the same wage controls, the same back-to-work laws, strike-breaking and social service cuts as are dished out by the other provincial governments.

The NDP’s socialism is sham socialism – “socialism” that is perfectly acceptable to the capitalists, that does not fundamentally hurt their interests. For despite all its vocal criticism of the Liberals and the Conservatives, the NDP defends all the basic principles of capitalism. It defends the right to private ownership of the means of production. NDP leader Broadbent defends the capitalists’ right “to make reasonable profits”. The NDP defends the bosses’ right to break strikes and smash our unions – as it did when it told postal workers to “obey the law of the land” and go back to work in the 1978 strike. The NDP tries to play on peoples’ justified anger at US imperialism, but in actual fact its 1979 program says “we’ll give foreign companies all the tax concessions and help they need to grow”. The NDP is as chauvinist as the other parties: it openly denies that Quebec is an oppressed nation that has the right to determine its own future. The Saskatchewan NDP regime has consistently trampled on the rights of Native people there.

In short, the NDP defends all that is near and dear to the hearts of the ruling class. The NDP is a bourgeois “labour” party. It deliberately fosters the image of defending the working man in order to get into power.

It is a party that is closely linked to the top trade union bureaucrats. The labour aristocracy has a vested interest in maintaining the capitalist system. All their privileges have been won by collaborating with the bourgeoisie and selling out the working class. If the system topples, all this is lost to them. So it is understandable that they go all out to win votes for the reformist NDP.

The NDP is the successor to the Commonwealth Cooperative Federation (CCF), set up in 1932 by reformists who sought to preserve capitalism. It served the capitalists by drawing workers away from the then-revolutionary Communist Party.

The capitalists need to have a party like the NDP around. By showing a sham concern for the anger and demands of the workers and channelling this into reformist solutions, the NDP serves the bourgeoisie by restoring the workers’ faith in the capitalist system and the ability of the system to solve its own problems.

Moreover, by promoting electoralism, the NDP demoralizes the working class movement and weakens its ability to fight even for its immediate demands.

All over the world, the capitalists have set up such social-democratic parties. By having such a bourgeois “labour” party talking about socialism and the needs of the working class, a party that in appearance seems to oppose the big capitalist parties, but in fact supports all the basic principles of capitalism, the bourgeoisie provides a new pillar to help prop up its system.

Social-democratic parties have always come to the defence of capitalism especially in times of crisis, and tied the hands of the working class by sabotaging the mobilization for the struggle to put an end to capitalism. Since the Second World War social-democratic parties have governed many European countries, such as England, West Germany, Sweden and Norway, for the capitalists. Their regimes have simply continued the exploitation and oppression of the working people and have tried to strait-jacket the union movement.

No, the NDP is no solution for the workers of our country.

The Parti Quebecois: bourgeois nationalism

The PQ is the party of the Quebec nationalist bourgeoisie. Its policies are aimed at protecting and strengthening this fraction of the bourgeoisie in its attempt to develop into a monopoly capitalist class. Despite all the confusion the PQ has generated around the referendum and sovereignty-association, its fundamental long-term objective remains the independence of Quebec from the rest of Canada.

Like the NDP, though far less emphatically, the PQ claims to be pro-worker. But the PQ in no way defends the interests of the working people of Quebec. It’s so called “bias in favour of workers” has been exposed as a sham, and the PQ administration has brought in one anti-worker law after another. The PQ leaders are in fact far more interested in assuring the capitalists that their investments will not be threatened, than in doing anything for the working class.

Hence Bill 45, the so-called “anti-scab” law, turned out to be anti-union, pro-scab legislation. And the PQ’s position in negotiations with the Common Front public sector workers in 1979 was far more aggressive and reactionary than that of the Liberals in 1976.

Nor does the PQ take up the struggle against the national oppression of the Quebecois people.

The PQ simply wishes to use the Quebec people’s just sentiment of resistance against national oppression to further the political goals of the nationalist bourgeoisie.

The PQ’s independence option has nothing to offer the proletariat. For Quebec workers it will simply spell increased exploitation after independence. Separation will weaken the struggle of the entire Canadian working class for socialism by dividing its ranks. And it will open the door to increased super power domination of Canada.

PQ leaders encourage US investment in Quebec in order to get the superpower’s backing for independence Separation will favour even wider penetration and control by the US giant.

Canadian working people have already had a taste of the different bourgeois parties in power, either federally or provincially. Whether parliament is run by the Conservatives, the Liberals, or on the provincial level, by these two or the Socreds, the NDP or the PQ – in every case, nothing changes for the masses of Canadian people. The government and state apparatus remain in the hands of the bourgeoisie.

Revisionists and opportunists sabotage the revolution

Besides the struggle against the major bourgeois parties, our Party also attaches special importance to fighting the influence of the various revisionist and opportunist groups. These groups cloak themselves in the flag of revolution, but actually help the bourgeoisie confuse the proletariat, misleading and betraying our struggles.

The Revisionist ’Communist’ Party Of Canada

The most dangerous of these forces is the revisionist “Communist” Party of Canada (“C”PC) which today acts as an agent of the bourgeoisie and faithful servant of Soviet social-imperialism. During the ’20s and ’30s, the CPC gave revolutionary leadership to the Canadian working class. But it abandoned its revolutionary history more than 20 years ago.

We consider the “C”PC to be revisionist. Revisionism means abandoning the fundamental principles of Marxism-Leninism by removing their revolutionary content. The revisionists are agents of the bourgeoisie, in the service of imperialism, who cloak themselves in Marxism-Leninism so as to sabotage and destroy from within the authentic communist movement. They try to channel the masses’ revolutionary aspirations into reformism.

The “C”PC supports the “peaceful road to socialism”, claiming that the working class can elect an “anti-monopoly coalition” to Parliament, and that this will open the way for socialism. It spreads the dangerous reformist illusion that the workers can simply vote socialism in. The tragic consequences of this line were revealed once again by the bloody 1971 coup d’etat in Chile. Only when the working class, arms in hand, seizes state power from the bourgeoisie will the road to socialism be opened.

The idea of an “anti-monopoly coalition” means the “C”PC is seeking to form an alliance with the NDP and the labour movement, in particular the left wing of the social-democrats. Rather than fighting against capitalism, the “C”PC claims that only the multinationals and private monopolies are bad, and that the small and middle capitalists, and state capitalism, are progressive. This thoroughly reformist line aims to lead the working class into full collaboration with the capitalist class, its main enemy.

The “C”PC in the 1930s mobilized the Canadian people in the struggle against fascism. But today it serves as an agent of the fascist rulers of the Soviet Union. It calls this imperialist superpower a “socialist” country. It pushes the Soviet Union’s propaganda on detente, thus disarming the Canadian people in face of the rising threat of war.

The “C”PC is one of many revisionist parties around the world. After the death of Stalin, the modern revisionists led by Khrushchev seized power in the Soviet Union, the world’s first socialist state, founded by Lenin, and restored capitalism. After Khrushchev came to power in 1956, capitalism was also restored in the majority of the peoples’ democracies of Eastern Europe. Like most of the communist parties in various countries around the world, the “C”PC immediately applauded Khrushchev’s abandonment of Marxist-Leninist principles.

Revisionism is the principal danger for the international communist movement.

Revisionists like the “C”PC have caused serious setbacks for the revolutionary struggles of the world’s peoples.

But genuine Marxist-Leninists have learned many lessons from the revisionist betrayal. The communist movement has been strengthened through the struggle against revisionism. When modern revisionism first emerged, the Communist Party of China, led by Chairman Mao Zedong, took the lead in defending Marxism-Leninism. Other parties as well remained faithful to the revolutionary principles and line. Since then, many new communist parties and organizations have grown up around the world, taking up the banner of Marxism-Leninism.

Other Opportunists

Besides the “C”PC, there are numerous other opportunist and counter-revolutionary sects and tendencies that exist around the country. Under a militant guise, they strive to sap the revolutionary movement.

The growth and development of these forces over the past years has been closely tied to that of revisionism. On the one hand, the degeneration of the “C”PC and the subsequent absence of genuine revolutionary leadership for a long period provided a fertile terrain for these opportunist groups to flourish. On the other, their ideological and political lines are on many points similar to the revisionists. Like the revisionist “C”PC all these groups serve as agents of the bourgeoisie to divide the working class.

The various counter-revolutionary Trotskyite groups, the fascist Bains gang of police provocateurs (the “CPCML”), the revisionist In Struggle group and others try to sabotage the workers’ struggles and ceaselessly attack communists and Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought.

Several bourgeois ideological trends within the Canadian workers’ movement attempt to turn the working class away from its revolutionary objective. The most important among them are social-democracy, nationalism in Quebec, and revisionism. They are represented by the NDP, the PQ and the “C”PC respectively. These bourgeois parties and ideological trends are alien to the proletariat and are serious obstacles to the development of the workers’ class consciousness.

Our Party will wage a continuous fight to win the working people of our country away from the influence of the bourgeois parties and groups and bring them under the leadership of our Party, the one political party in Canada that truly defends the interests of the working class.