Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

In Struggle!

A Manifestation of Dogmatism: Underestimating the Importance of American Imperialism in the Analysis of Canadian Reality

First Published: In Struggle No. 69, September 2, 1976
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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We announced in the article on the rallying of Mobilisation to the Canadian Communist League (M-L), published on page 8 of our last issue, that we would discuss fundamental questions concerning line, questions on which we criticize the Leagues “correct line”. It is on these questions that we also base our non-recognition of the League’s role as leading centre in the struggle for unity. It is from this viewpoint that today we present the criticism of a particular, but central, point of the CCL(M-L)’s political line: its under-estimation of the importance of American imperialism in our country. Indeed this question is intimately linked to that of the international situation, subject of an article in our coming issue.

When the League puts forth that the principal contradiction opposes the proletariat to the Canadian bourgeoisie and that the secondary contradiction opposes the Canadian people to the two superpowers, particularly to American imperialism, [1] it, without any doubt, faithfully and formally transposes the Marxist-Leninist line on the international level. It apparently rigourously considers the State question, the imperialist nature of the Canadian bourgeoisie and the division of the world into three worlds, but in practice it lays the theoretical basis of a fundamentally opportunist line concerning the path towards revolution in our country. And it’s because they fail to correctly apply the principles of Marxism-Leninism to the concrete analysis of the situation in Canada, on a national and international level, that the League and Mobilisation, for, on that matter the two groups agree, reach erroneous conclusions that can only lead to the liquidation of the revolutionary struggle in our country.

Canada is an advanced capitalist country where the capitalist way of production is not only dominant but has undeniably reached the imperialist stage. Canada is a politically independent country i.e. a country where State power is in the hands of the national bourgeoisie, a monopolist bourgeoisie engaged, like all other monopolist bourgeoisies, in the struggle for the division of the world in zones of control that favour it. Canada is a country of bourgeois democracy where the trend towards reaction is growing steadily, where democratic rights historically wrested by the proletariat and the masses are dangerously threatened. As Lenin said, imperialism, on the economic level, is the monopolies; on the political level, it’s reaction. Finally, Canada is a country where two nations coexist, the dominant English-Canadian nation and the oppressed Quebec nation, and where we find the national minorities of native people, Inuit and Indians, whose rights have been shoved aside ever since the arrival on this continent of the European colonialists.

But we couldn’t chart the course of revolution in Canada if we didn’t consider another essential factor, the alliance of the Canadian bourgeoisie with American imperialism. This alliance isn’t new, in fact it has affected the development of monopoly capitalism in Canada for more than a half century. In other words. Canadian monopoly capitalism has developed itself thanks to this alliance, to the Canadian bourgeoisie’s profit of course, but also to the profit of American imperialism. The alliance between the Canadian bourgeoisie and American imperialism goes much further than the economic sector and is in fact present in diplomatic, political, cultural, and military questions. If it’s obvious that in the last few years the Canadian bourgeoisie, at least a faction of it, is trying to counter American economic grasp and domination on Canada, it is also obvious that its efforts have yet to succeed in changing the situation. To those who would be tempted to reject this viewpoint by the simple affirmation that the contradictions between imperialists are absolute and exclude all alliances (and we must ask these people, then, how “unity” between second world imperialist countries could exist), we wish to recall this quote from Lenin that every Canadian Marxist-Leninist would profit by going back to, concerning the questions of imperialist war, national independence and proletarian revolution:

The imperialist tendency towards big empires is fully achievable, and in practice is often achieved, in the form of an imperialist alliance of sovereign and independent –politically independent – states. Such an alliance is possible and is encountered not only in the form of an economic merger of the finance capital of two countries, but also in the form of ’military co-operation’ in an imperialist war [2]

That is precisely how the “imperialist camp” dominated by the USA was constituted after the Second World War. Today this “imperialist camp” is falling to pieces because of the very contradictions that exist between imperialists; but nevertheless Canada still remains a sure ally of American imperialism. That’s why, contrary to many other countries of the Second World, the main threat to our country’s national independence doesn’t stem from Soviet social-imperialism, but from American imperialism. If there was another world war in the present conditions, a Soviet invasion wouldn’t be the first thing to fear. What we should fear would be a reinforcement of the American grasp on our country, that “by force of financial links and economic interests”[3] American imperialism would drag us into war, as it did in Korea.

The alliance of the Canadian bourgeoisie with American imperialism doesn’t only concern the question of national independence or of Canada’s sovereignty. The American imperialist ally of the Canadian bourgeoisie has not only economic interests in our country, but also military and strategic interests, that to such an extent any revolutionary movement in Canada would inevitably be confronted by American imperialism, the nature of its intervention depending on the importance of the revolutionary movement. Moreover, it is almost sure that if ever the revolutionary workers’ movement puts the Canadian bourgeoisie on thin ice it would not hesitate to ask its ally to intervene. In other words, it’s unthinkable in the present conditions, that the proletarian revolution in Canada will develop without the intervention of American imperialism that could go far as military invasion. In such case, the proletarian revolution would take up the liberation struggle against the foreign invader.

In such a context, to situate American imperialism on the same level as social-imperialism only because its rivalry with Soviet social-imperialism could provoke a new world war, that would endanger the independence of all countries equally, to refrain from distinguishing between the direct and real danger that US control on our country constitutes for the Canadian people and the indirect danger that stems from the USSR, is, in present conditions, to deceive the Canadian proletariat and people. Why? Because such a thesis is contradicted by the present reality of our country and its relations with American imperialism and social-imperialism.

This is the concrete situation starting from which we must chart the course of revolution in our country. Socialism, which alone can give the true solution to the contradictions present in current Canadian society, will be established in our country by the proletarian revolution and the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat. In other words, the way to socialism in Canada, like the way to the restoration of the national rights of the Quebec people, of the Inuits and Indians, is through the proletarian revolution, by the overthrow of the, State power today in the hands of the Canadian bourgeoisie and by the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat, i.e. democracy for the people and the nations of Canada and dictatorship over the bourgeoisie in order to proceed to its elimination as a class on the political, economical and ideological level.

Consequently, in our country the unity of the whole of the Canadian proletariat behind its Marxist-Leninist Party, including the Quebec nation and the national minorities, in the struggle for the overthrow of the present State power, is necessary for revolution. This struggle for the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat must include, as essential elements, the struggle for the democratic right of the Quebec nation, of the Inuits and Indians, the right of women to equal status, and the struggle of the whole Canadian people for the defence of national sovereignty including the preparation for the struggle for the independence if ever it is taken away, or directly threatened, by whomever it may be.

It would be erroneous to define the way of revolution in our country without considering the conditions prevailing on a world-wide scale. If “today in the world the principal trend is to revolution”, nevertheless the rivalry between the superpowers, USSR and USA grows sharper every day and consequently it presents a true danger of world war.

“That either revolution will prevent war or that war leads to revolution”, the Canadian proletariat and people must be prepared to assume their revolutionary and internationalist tasks: overthrow the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, defend the national independence of the country, and fully support all nations, peoples and countries struggling against exploitation and oppression or at war against either of the superpowers.


[1] This position of the League is defended in its Statement of Political Agreement Chapter 3 and 4. as well as in its brochure Against Right Opportunism...

[2] “A Caricature of Marxism...” Lenin, Collected Works. Vol. 23 p. 50.

[3] Ibid p. 51