Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line


The Third Congress of the Marxist-Leninist Organization of Canada IN STRUGGLE!

Programme for the proletarian revolution in Canada

Introduction: We live in a world rife with misery and oppression in various forms.

Hunger, poverty, unemployment, racial and sexual discrimination, and many forms of repression, from the restriction of the most basic democratic rights like freedom of speech and association to hideous barbarism like torture and genocide, are still the lot of the majority of the people of the world.

Colonialism, national oppression, the domination of the great powers, rivalry, war, and the threat of war characterize relations between countries, peoples, and nations.

Far from diminishing with the progress of science and technology, the various forms of misery endured by the masses are growing in the countries dominated by Capital. The gulf between the rich and the poor, between the powerful and the dispossessed, is steadily widening.

Ever since the first class societies, the exploited have aspired to a better life where the living conditions of all would be in keeping with society’s ability to use the wealth of nature. They have yearned for a society where all injustice would be banished forever, a society with no trace of corruption, a society in which the weak would no longer be oppressed by the strong, a society in which one class would no longer be exploited by another.

Humanity has reached a turning point in its history. The dreams of the past have become real possibilities for a future that can already be foreseen, because the material conditions necessary for achieving them are growing steadily.

At the same time, the proletariat and working people are becoming increasingly aware that this society can only’be achieved through proletarian revolution. Only proletarian revolution can put an end to the capitalist relations of exploitation that are now the fundamental obstacle to further progress for mankind.

This is the meaning of the struggle for a society of abundance, of justice and of freedom: the communist society.

1. Most of humanity now lives under the yoke of imperialism, the final stage of capitalism.

In the 16th century, the capitalist mode of production began to emerge on the basis of commodity production. A minority of people – mainly rich merchants – gradually took over the principal means of production, more often than not through violence. This process led to the creation of the proletariat, the class made up of the people dispossessed of the means of production and forced to sell their labour-power.

The bourgeoisie’s rise to power was completed when it took over the State and moulded it in its interests. A new form of class society emerged, characterized by the struggle between two main classes: the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. The course of humanity is still determined by the struggle between these two classes.

The bourgeoisie’s power is rooted in the appropriation of new wealth produced by the labour of the working class. Workers are forced to exchange their labour-power for a wage that allows them to survive but that represents less value than that produced by their labour; this is the source of capital accumulation. In this way, the capitalists, the owners of the means of production, constantly deprive the workers of part of the fruits of their labour.

Capitalists have only one raison d’etre – to accumulate more and more capital. They are therefore always looking for ways to increase the productivity of labour. This stimulates the development of science and technology and leads to an ever greater division of labour. It also results in very keen competition among capitalists themselves; many are reduced to bankruptcy, while a minority get richer and richer.

The higher level of the division of labour that comes with the development of the productive forces leads to a steadily growing socialization of production. The existence of modern society depends on the work of millions of individuals whose roles in production are increasingly interdependent. At the same time, a minority, the owners of capital, continues to control production. This contradiction between the social character of production and the private character of the appropriation of the fruits of production is the fundamental contradiction of capitalism.

This fundamental contradiction is the source of the anarchy of production and the crises of overproduction under capitalism. This explains the enormous waste of productive forces lost through drops in production and plant shutdowns, and the resulting social misery, notably unemployment. This also explains why, alongside this waste, millions of people lack the basic necessities and why even famine still strikes in various parts of the world.

Capitalism reached its final stage of development, the stage of imperialism, early in the 20th century. Since then, it has been characterized by a general crisis that will inevitably lead to its downfall.

Monopolies are the foundation of imperialism. These big financial trusts are the result of the union of the biggest bankers and industrialists and they rule supreme in all capitalist countries. The power of these masters of Capital is all the greater because they have total control over State power, and they use it in a multitude of ways to intensify the exploitation and oppression of the masses.

Except in socialist countries, the monopolies have set up the rule of Capital, and the imperialist powers have established, their domination throughout the world. To pursue their endeavors, the masters of Capital have no other choice today but to extend their exploitation of the proletariat and working people throughout the world. Rivalries that set the imperialist powers and the big monopolies against each other now outweigh the competition that has always existed between individual capitalists. The imperialists inevitably end up resorting to wars, and the peoples end up paying for them. These conflicts have already twice been transformed into world wars.

Increasingly brutal repression is the only response the imperialists and their agents have for the proletariat, the working people, and the oppressed peoples and nations who rise up against exploitation. As we have seen in many countries ever since the 1930’s, imperialism has often resorted to fascism, the open and violent dictatorship of the most reactionary classes in the service of Capital.

2. The era of imperialism is also the era of proletarian revolution.

Capitalism has created the very conditions for its own destruction. The spread of capitalist production has resulted in the growth of the size, cohesion, and revolt of the proletariat, the only thoroughly revolutionary class. With the abolition of capitalist exploitation, the proletariat is the only class that has everything to gain and nothing to lose but its chains.

The proletariat’s resistance to capitalist exploitation is as old as the proletariat itself. The first working-class defence organizations – trade unions and various mutual aid associations – emerged very early in its history. The first international working-class association was created in the mid-1800’s. In France in 1871, the proletariat attacked State power and founded the Paris Commune.

It was the glorious October Revolution in Russia in 1917, however, that marked the onset of the era of proletarian revolution, the era of the struggle for socialism and communism led by the working class and its vanguard party.

The successes and setbacks of all revolutionary struggles since then confirm that henceforth only proletarian leadership can lead the revolution on the path towards socialism. In the era of imperialism, the cause of the oppressed nations and peoples is more and more intimately linked with that of the proletariat because their total liberation from the yoke of imperialist oppression is only possible with the abolition of capitalism itself.

The world is now divided into two camps with diametrically opposed interests. The camp of imperialism and reaction stands opposed to the camp of revolution and progress, which includes the socialist countries, the international proletariat, and the peoples and nations fighting imperialism.

Four main contradictions govern the contemporary world: the contradiction between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie; the contradiction between socialist countries, and capitalist and imperialist countries; the contradiction between oppressed peoples and nations, and imperialism; and the contradiction between the various imperialist countries and monopoly groups themselves.

The struggle for socialism has suffered setbacks, especially in the USSR – which has today become a social-imperialist power – and other countries that have adopted the path of capitalist restoration. All these setbacks are reminders that, historically, no mode of production has ever been replaced by another without temporary defeats for the revolutionary classes at the hands of the enemy classes. These setbacks underline the fact that without a firm application of Marxism-Leninism, without the dictatorship of the proletariat, the struggle for socialism will inevitably meet with such defeats.

Capitalism, undermined by its own contradictions, will inevitably be overthrown, just as all previous systems of class exploitation, including slavery and feudalism, have been. The working class has the mission of carrying this task out to its ultimate conclusion: the abolition of class society.

3. Canada is an independent capitalist country that has reached the stage of imperialism. Socialist revolution is now on the agenda.

In the 19th century, the Canadian bourgeoisie turned the struggles and popular uprisings of the masses against British colonial power to its own advantage and established itself as the ruling class throughout the vast territory of Canada. The territory had belonged to the Native peoples until the 16th century when the French and the British began to colonize it by force of arms.

First exploited by the merchants of the French and British metropolises, Canada developed its own local bourgeoisie which was composed mainly of anglophones, but also included some francophones. The primary interest of this local bourgeoisie lay in the capitalist industrialization of the country.

This rising class did not shrink from using all means necessary to establish its total control over the country. It dispossessed and slaughtered the Native peoples, i.e. the Indians, Inuit, and Metis. It imported vast numbers of super-exploited foreign workers. It gradually dispossessed independent small producers, like farmers, craftsmen, and fishermen. It denied the national rights of oppressed nations and national minorities, such as the Native peoples, the Acadians, and the Quebecois.

With the gradual establishment of the parliamentary system and the acquisition of political independence, in particular with Confederation in 1867, the bourgeois democratic revolution in Canada was, for all intents and purposes, complete. By the turn of the century, Capital had come to dominate throughout Canada, with the Canadian State as the instrument of its dictatorship.

Since then, Canada has emerged as an imperialist power in which a minority lives in outrageous wealth and shameless waste, while the majority face poverty, unemployment, misery, unhealthy living and working conditions, and starvation wages.

A handful of big Canadian financiers, allied first with British and later with U.S. imperialism, controls the social and economic life of the country.

As the general crisis of capitalism deepens, the Canadian bourgeoisie is confronted with the mounting resistance of the proletariat and the peoples, and with the sharpening of inter-imperialist rivalries resulting from the struggle to redivide the world. The bourgeoisie must inevitably increase the exploitation and oppression of the Canadian masses, step up the exploitation of the North inhabited by Native peoples, intensify its search for new sources of raw materials and cheap labour in foreign countries, and extend the markets where it can sell its commodities.

Canadian capitalists seek to increase the productivity of workers. They impose speed-ups and compulsory overtime. They multiply their attacks on the democratic rights of working people and continually try to control their organizations and even to destroy them. They flout the rights of the Quebec nation, the Native peoples, and the national minorities, as well as the rights of women, immigrants, youth, and all the oppressed strata.

The Canadian State is controlled entirely by, and in the service of, the capitalist class. It steadily improves its instruments of repression, notably its police and its army, which remain the ultimate weapons for the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie over the people and for its imperialist activities around the world. In order to develop its imperialist activities, the Canadian State participates in several military pacts and interferes in other peoples’ affairs, particularly through the so-called international “peace-keeping forces”.

Socialist revolution is the only way that the working people of Canada can ensure both the full respect of the democratic rights of the oppressed strata and the abolition of all exploitation.

4. The working class of Canada has proven that it is the leading force of the socialist revolution in the country.

The proletariat is rich with the experience gained in the many battles it has fought against the bourgeoisie for over a century now. Even when the working class represented only a small proportion of working people, it quickly began to play a vanguard role in the major economic and political battles that have marked Canadian history from the early 1800’s. One of the earliest of these was the struggle of workers to organize trade unions. It also played a leading role in the many battles for the rights of women and of other oppressed strata, and by lending active support to the struggles of the proletariat and oppressed peoples and nations throughout the world.

In 1921, on the basis of the lessons learned in its previous struggles and the lessons of the October Revolution, the vanguard of the proletariat of Canada broke with various brands of reformism, adopted Marxism-Leninism, and founded the Communist Party of Canada. For the next two decades or so, this Party was to lead important mass struggles in the country.

During the 1940’s, however, the Party sank hopelessly into revisionism and class collaboration. The Party leadership made concessions to the interests of the labour aristocracy and strata of the petty bourgeoisie that benefited from Canadian imperialism. It finally abandoned the Marxist-Leninist line of proletarian revolution and took up a bourgeois nationalist line.

The Party thus joined the camp of the modern revisionists who, in the late 1950’s, instigated the great split of the international communist movement. For many years, the working class in Canada – like in many other countries – was deprived of revolutionary leadership and left open to the influence of various opportunist tendencies: Trotskyism, nationalism, social democracy, and different forms of petty-bourgeois radicalism.

It was only with the upsurge of the mass movement in the 1960’s and 1970’s and the resolute struggle of the parties and organizations in various parts of the world that had remained faithful to Marxism-Leninism and rejected modern revisionism that an authentic communist movement was reborn in Canada. Once again, there was a movement in Canada to take up the task of proletarian revolution.

5. The historic mission of the working class is to lead the world to communism.

The working class cannot free itself without freeing all of humanity at the same time, because the ultimate goal of its struggle is not to replace the power of one class with that of another but rather to abolish all classes. This is the only way to put an end to all the social divisions and inequalities that have characterized class societies thus far.

The extensive development of productive forces is fundamental to the emergence of communist society. It will permit a steady reduction in the human work needed to produce goods. Communist society is based on the free association of all individuals who work together to produce the goods necessary for their collective well-being. All will work according to their capacities and their needs will be fully satisfied. In such conditions, work will become the first vital need for everyone.

Thus, individuals will no longer be governed by the division of labour and all opposition between city and countryside and between manual and intellectual work will be eliminated. The abolition of classes will also mean the elimination of the roots of women’s oppression at last.

Only socialism, the transitional stage between capitalism and communism, can fully realize the material and ideological conditions for communist society. The expropriation of the capitalists and the socialization of the means of production will lead directly to the abolition of society divided into classes with opposing interests. The abolition of classes will in turn lead to the withering away of the State, and ultimately to its extinction for the State is not, and can never be, anything other than the instrument of dictatorship of one class over others.

6. The emancipation of the workers will be the act of the workers themselves.

The fundamental interests of the proletariat are the same throughout the world. The socialist revolution in Canada is inseparable from the world proletarian revolution. The struggle for socialism in Canada will be the primary contribution of the working class of this country towards communism. Communism itself is only possible in a world totally rid of imperialist domination, capitalist exploitation, and bourgeois ideology.

In order to put an end to capitalist exploitation, the proletariat must seize State power, destroy the administrative and military apparatus set up by the bourgeoisie, and establish its own dictatorship over the exploiters, thus creating the conditions for the broadest possible democracy for all working people.

The proletarian State has to ensure the destruction of the material and ideological, bases of bourgeois society and the construction of those of socialist society. Once in power, the proletariat will eliminate the private ownership of the means of production, beginning with the expropriation of the domestic and foreign big bourgeoisie.

The ownership of the means of production will be socialized and placed under the control of the State of the dictatorship of the proletariat. In order to prevent the appropriation of the fruits of the labour of the working class by a minority which could thus become a new bourgeoisie, working-class power will rely on the total control by workers over the organization of their own labour and over the distribution of the goods produced.

Proletarian democracy will be the spearhead of the victory over the political and ideological forms of bourgeois society. It will be guaranteed by the broadest participation of the masses, guided by the working class and its party, in all political, social, and cultural activities and in the struggle against bourgeois ideology.

The dictatorship over the exploiters and democracy and equality for all the different strata of the people will be governed and guaranteed by the constitution and law. The constitution will attack all inequalities and forms of oppression inherited from capitalism and all former class societies. In particular, the full equality of men and women will at last be recognized in more than words. With the socialization of domestic work and the participation of women in social production, the total realization of full equality will finally be underway.

Socialist construction requires the greatest possible unity of the proletariat and working people of the entire country. Unity, however, is impossible without equality. Therefore, the principle of the absolute equality of languages and nations will be fully applied. There will be no discrimination in work, in education, or in daily life against members of any nation or national minority. Nations will have the inalienable right to decide for and by themselves on their political status, including the right to form an independent State.

The proletariat will exercise its supreme leadership over socialist construction including State administration and the armed forces through its vanguard party, the Marxist-Leninist communist party. The guarantee for the dictatorship of the proletariat lies in the people in arms who will be able to stand up to any counter-revolutionary danger, whether it comes from inside or outside the country.

The working class in power will seek the closest union with the other socialist countries. It will actively support the struggle of the international proletariat for its total emancipation, as well as all national and democratic struggles waged against imperialism and reaction. It will be a firm defender of the socialist State in the face of any imperialist aggression.

7. The task of the working class is to build the camp of the socialist revolution under the leadership of its vanguard party.

The principal enemy that the working class of Canada confronts in its struggle for proletarian revolution is the Canadian bourgeoisie, the class controlling State power. The working class must also be prepared to confront the combined forces of world imperialism and reaction, especially the close allies of the Canadian bourgeoisie and the big hegemonic powers which have always been the sworn enemies of socialism around the world.

The working class of Canada, made up of men and women of different nations and national minorities and working in different sectors of the economy, is both the main force and the leading force in the revolution. It will seek support from its potential allies: the semi-proletariat, the lower strata of the petty bourgeoisie – whether employees or owners of their means of production like small farmers and fishermen – and all the popular forces engaged in democratic struggles.

At the same time, it must neutralize the intermediate strata and resolutely fight all bourgeois agents in the working-class movement, in particular those who defend the interests of the labour aristocracy and the petty bourgeoisie – the main social basis for all forms of opportunism and revisionism.

It must actively link up with the struggles of the international proletariat and support the socialist countries and the struggles of oppressed peoples and nations against imperialism, especially where Canadian imperialism is involved.

To lead its struggle to victory, the working class applies a principle central to all revolutionary strategy and tactics: it continually works to strengthen the camp of the revolution while weakening the reactionary camp ideologically, politically, and militarily.

The victory of the proletarian revolution depends on accomplishing three main tasks:
a) building the revolutionary party; the party, a detachment of the international communist movement, brings together the best fighters of the working class, is based rigorously on Marxism-Leninism, and firmly applies democratic centralism; its organization is based in the factories and other workplaces and spreads into city neighbourhoods and rural regions; the party is at all times and in all respects the headquarters of the revolution, its supreme and sole leadership;
b) uniting the proletariat of all nations and national minorities and the different strata of the people fighting exploitation and oppression on the basis of the line defined by the party, and winning to its leadership mass organizations, especially the trade unions; for while it is the party which makes the masses conscious, it is the masses who make revolution;
c) arming the masses to fight repression, preparing them ideologically and organizationally to fight the bourgeoisie’s reactionary violence and ultimately to seize State power by revolutionary violence as soon as the necessary conditions arise.

8. The proletarian party builds up the revolutionary camp by supporting the immediate struggles of working people.

Proletarian revolution is a protracted struggle, and during the period when the conditions for seizing State power are not present, this struggle develops essentially around the immediate struggles of the proletariat and working people. The party of the working class takes up its role as the leader of the revolutionary proletariat by joining in these struggles and by demonstrating the need for revolution through them.

The party also supports the immediate struggles of working people to protect their material and moral well-being, and to create the conditions most favourable to their struggles. The party remains aware, however, that the immediate demands it puts forward can be fully satisfied only with the victory of the socialist revolution.

It is in this perspective that it is urgent to fight for the following demands:
a) the complete freedom of expression, association, and economic and political organization for the proletariat and the popular strata and the complete independence of their organizations, including trade unions, from the bourgeois State;
b) the right for all to bear arms;
c) the absolute equality of languages and nations; the abolition of all forms of discrimination against nations, national minorities, and immigrants; the right of oppressed nations to self-determination, including the right to set up an independent State;
d) the complete equality of women and men at work and in all other areas of political, economic, and social life;
e) the end to all restrictions on the right to strike and to free collective bargaining for all workers;
f) equal wages and salaries for all workers performing equal work, without discrimination as to age, sex, race, nationality, language, or region;
g) the indexation of all forms of workers’ income – salaries and wages as well as unemployment insurance benefits, pensions, family allowances, and social welfare; the establishment of a guaranteed minimum income for all, indexed to the cost of living;
h) the elimination of compulsory overtime;
i) the total protection of health in the workplace and in the community;
j) the withdrawal of Canada from all military and imperialist alliances and an end to all interference abroad by Canada; the recognition by Canada of all socialist countries and the abolition of all restrictions on exchanges with them;
k) the repeal of all treaties, accords, or agreements between Canada and other countries that interfere with the country’s political sovereignty;
l) the right to political asylum for all those who are fighting for liberty, democracy, or socialism anywhere