First Published: The Forge, Vol. 4, No. 34, October 5, 1979
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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As a part of the campaign to popularize the new Workers Communist Party, The Forge met with the Chairman of the WCP’s Central Committee, comrade Roger Rashi. Comrade Rashi talked about the importance of the creation of the Party, and explained how the Party will develop into a Party that is strong and representative of the whole Canadian working class.
What is the importance of the creation of the Party?
All the classes in our society have their own parties. The big Canadian capitalists have the Conservative and Liberal parties to defend their interests and make sure that they can continue exploiting the workers. Quebecois capitalists have the PQ, which is trying to build them up so that they can rule an independent Quebec.
But till now our country lacked a party that defends the interests of the working class and that fights against capitalist exploitation.
With the present crisis, a growing number of workers are realizing that the capitalist system has nothing to offer them. While their living and working conditions get worse, a handful of rich men are raking in billions in profits. Workers are looking for a solution, and our party offers them an alternative: socialism, a system where the exploitation of man by man is abolished and the majority of the population, the working class, is in power. With the creation of the WCP, the working class has the essential weapon it needs to wage the fight against capitalism and arrive at socialism.
How was it possible to create the Party?
The Communist League built up its activity in the working class right across the country over the last four years. By analysing the situation in Canada we developed an orientation, a revolutionary perspective that will enable us to guide the struggles of the working class towards socialism.
We took this Marxist-Leninist orientation to the workers. As we got involved in workers’ struggles, like against the wage freeze or in the fightback after the shooting at Robin Hood, we explained our revolutionary orientation, and we saw that workers were prepared to accept communist ideas. We won more and more workers to our ranks.
Four years ago the Canadian Communist League (Marxist-Leninist) was practically unknown in the working class. Its activities were almost exclusively limited to Quebec, and it had very few links with the labour movement.
Today we have become an organized force that is present on the major regions of the country. Even the bourgeois media and the union bureaucrats recognize that we are a growing force in the working class.
Over 4000 people attended the League’s most recent public meetings, and every week we distribute over 12,000 copies of The Forge across the country.
So the two things that enabled us to create the Party were the development of a clear political line and the application of this line in workers’ struggles. Of course, like all revolutionary parties at their creation, the Workers Communist Party is still small and weak. It is not widely known in the working class. But if we stick to our orientation and show that it serves the interests of the working class, our Party will grow and become powerful. It will become a party that truly represents the entire working class, capable of leading its struggles.
Now that the Founding Congress has been held, how does the Party Intend to develop over the next period of time?
The Central Committee has decided to launch a political campaign to popularize the Party’s Program, to win a growing number of workers to its ranks, and make known the communist viewpoint on all the burning questions in Canada today.
During this campaign we will be organizing public meetings in all the major cities in the country, and at the same time will be carrying out a fund-raising campaign to support the Party’s work. But the campaign will be mostly waged by our involvement in all the major political struggles being waged by the Canadian workers and people at the present time. In these struggles we will show workers that our Party and our program is their only real alternative.
For example, one of the main questions facing the working class right now is how to fight against the crisis, which will get worse with the coming recession.
There is a lot of anger among rank-and-file workers at the orientation top union leaders like McDermott and the CLC leadership are giving to the labour movement. Many workers are looking for an orientation that will mobilize them to defend their interests. Our Party will present its program for the fight, the direction it proposes for the labour movement in order to build a powerful fightback against the crisis.
For example, we are active in the fight against cutbacks in social services in Ontario and elsewhere, where governments are cutting hospital, education and daycare budgets to the bone.
The struggle of Canada’s oppressed nationalities is also going through a great upsurge at the present time. The Quebecois people are continuing the fight for their national rights. Acadians, Black-Canadians’ and Native people across the country are rising up against the oppression they suffer under capitalism.
Our Party is involved in these struggles, as in Acadia, where we are working to strengthen the Acadians’ fight for their language, their schools and the respect of all their national rights.
In Quebec, one part of our work to popularize the Party is our participation in the by-elections. We will use the electoral stage to unmask the PQ and its anti-worker policies, like Bill 17 and its attitude to the Common Front. We will show that its plans for independence are not the solution to the national oppression of the Quebec people.
We will make our party known by explaining our program in each and every one of these struggles. This is the way the workers and all the nationalities will come to see the Party as their party, and support it.
Parties like the NDP and the PQ claim to defend the workers. How is the WCP different from them?
These parties claim to be for the workers, but in fact they serve the capitalists’ interests. They try to make a few minor changes within the capitalist system in order to convince workers that there is no need to get rid of the whole system.
Look at the NDP, for instance. It likes to denounce the monopolies’ “excessive” profits. But once in power, like in Saskatchewan, the NDP gets along famously with these same monopolies. It defends their right to make profits from the sweat and blood of the workers.
The PQ tries to convince workers that it will stop the daily massacre in factories due to industrial accidents, but at the same moment it is passing a health-and-safety law intended to stop workers from fighting against dangerous conditions.
While the most that these reformist parties want to do is soften the workers’ conditions of exploitation a bit, our Party wants to eliminate this exploitation completely.
Ours is a revolutionary party. It isn’t just trying to improve capitalism, it intends to establish the power of the workers and build socialism.
Our Party is organized in the factories and in the neighbourhoods where workers live. It aims to organize the workers so that they can collectively transform society.
What is the role of the Party’s members in ensuring its development?
It has been the energy and dynamism of the members of our Party, their devotion to the cause of the working class, which has permitted us to develop. And it is their work which will allow the WCP to strengthen itself and grow. The members of our Party have been in the frontlines of the struggles of the working class and people. From organizers in fishermen unions in the Maritimes, to Quebec hospital workers, Ontario auto workers and west-coast woodworkers, WCP activists have always put the needs and welfare of the people first.
Through education and study within the Party, we are aiming to reinforce this tradition and consolidate the working class’s revolutionary core.
Already the creation of the Party has stirred enthusiasm among workers who have been close to our organization. I met one worker who supported our activities in the past, but didn’t understand the importance of getting involved in the organization. He told me, “Now that the Party has been formed, I have to get involved – because it’s our Party, the workers’ Party.”
We are counting on the enthusiasm of workers like him to become the Party of the Canadian working class.