Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Red Star Collective

The International Situation: World United Front & Proletarian Revolution

Canada and the Role of the Proletariat

“In the era of capitalism, and especially in the era of imperialism and proletarian revolution, the interaction and mutual impact of different countries in the political, economic and cultural spheres are extremely great. ” (Chairman Mao Tse-tung, “On Contradiction”, Selected Works, Vol.1 ,p. 314) We stated at the outset of this paper that an important purpose in examining the international situation is to understand its effects on Canada. The growing danger of war in Europe and the struggles of Third World peoples for national liberation have important consequences for Canadian revolutionary struggles. We will try to determine what those consequences are and how the Canadian proletariat can be led to best take advantage of them. Of course the world is a complicated place and it is impossible to foresee all the twists and turns of future history. What we try to understand is how the most important external forces become operative through the internal forces of Canada.

Canada has developed in the era of imperialism in a particular way. Canada is a developed capitalist country of the second world, one that has reached the monopoly stage of production, but Canada is not, itself, an imperialist country. Rather the dominant aspect of Canada’s political economy is that it is imperialized by the United States. US domination over Canada, particularly its economic aspects, has already been examined at length in our pamphlet Canada: Imperialist Power or Economic Colony?. In this pamphlet we show that the principal contradiction is between the Canadian proletariat on the one hand and an alliance between the Canadian bourgeoisie and American imperialism on the other. The American bourgeoisie controls the manufacturing and resource extraction sectors of the Canadian economy, while the Canadian bourgeoisie does the same in the financial sector and in transportation and merchandizing. The Canadian bourgeoisie gains its profits by providing the infrastructure and financial services to the US imperialists in their Canadian ventures (to some extent abroad as well).

Thus US imperialism does not constitute an external threat to the entire Canadian people including the bourgeoisie, as is the case in some European countries, rather it is part of the primary contradiction. It directly exploits the Canadian working class.

There can be no thought of a united front including the Canadian bourgeoisie against the superpowers to defend national sovereignity, when economic sovereignity has long since been taken over by one of the superpowers. The Canadian proletariat has only one way out from US domination – proletarian revolution, throwing off the exploitation of both the Canadian bourgeoisie and the US imperialists. A socialist Canada will be a mighty blow to US imperialism and will be part of the general process of ridding the earth of the imperialist system altogether.

But what of the Soviet Union? What are the contradictions between it and the Canadian proletariat? What of the danger of war?

The Canadian bourgeoisie would fight Soviet attempts to gain hegemony over Canada, but this would only be to protect its alliance with US imperialism. At the moment however, this is a moot point. The Soviet Union is preparing its economic and military drive in Europe not in Canada, occupations of northern ice floes and sales of Cardinal watches notwithstanding.

It is true that the Soviet Union does plunder our fishing grounds, but then so does Japan, Norway and Portugal. The United States carries on a far more extensive and protracted robbery of our natural resources in forestry, mining, power, water and fishing. But there are no joint Soviet-Canadian stock companies exploiting Canadian workers or Soviet ’aid’ agreements which result in Canada buying outmoded Soviet technology and paying large sums in interest back to the Soviet Union, as is the case in their ’aid’ to some other countries. In fact it is Canada which extends the credit so the Soviet Union may buy Canadian technoloy (which aids the Soviet war build up). However, the Soviets seem to have found better supplies elsewhere and are hesitant to use even the credit already available to them. By Oct. 1976 only $60 million of the $500 million line-of-credit agreed to in mid 1975 had been taken up even though the original contract stated that $250 million must be used in 1975. If the Soviet Union were all that interested in dominating Canada immediately then surely they would take all opportunities to develop trade.

The latest complete trade figures available show that Canada imported $24 million worth of goods from the USSR during the period January to June 1976. This may beat out Czechoslovakia at $19.5 million, but it doesn’t come up to the imports from the Peoples’ Republic of China ($37 " 7 million), Switzerland ($79 million), Sweden ($151 million), West Germany ($385 million) or the United States ($13,165 million). It works out that .13% of our imports come from the Soviet Union and 68.6% come from the United States. In fact Soviet-Canada trade cannot really be said to aid Soviet control over Canada at all. The trade balance, because of our large wheat sales is grossly favourable to Canada, not the Soviet Union. The 1975 figures show a net favourable balance to Canada of $380.4 million.[1]

Economically then, the Soviet Union is not a major exploiter of the Canadian proletariat or the nation itself. This is not to say we must not guard against Soviet economic exploitation as we must against that of all imperialist countries, but this cannot be our main concern. We must not let the sliver of Soviet economic rip-offs blind us to the forest of those of the US.

Nor is the Soviet Union, at present, prepared to use more direct military means to gain control over Canada. There are occasional flights over Canadian air space. There are even KGB spies working here, about 20 according to the latest news reports, but they are not gathering information to enable Soviet strategists to map out plans for a Soviet takeover. Rather, it is the NATO defense plans for Europe; the drawings of the latest US fighter planes etc that interest them. Canada is just a good listening post. But neither these spies nor the occupation of a few northern ice islands nor the visit of two Soviet destroyers to Vancouver on a ’good-will’ mission can be considered a major military threat. Certainly the Soviets would like to have Canada’s natural resources, for that matter, they would even like to conquer the United States itself. But the Soviet Union cannot take all things at once. At present, the Soviet troops are lined up against Europe; the Soviet navy surrounds Europe; the Soviet nuclear force is aimed at Europe. Europe, not Canada, is the immediate prize.

In the event of an imperialist war of redivision it is likely the United States will take Canada into the war long before the Soviets take the war into Canada. And it is with this understanding that Marxist-Leninists should determine their tasks. If war breaks out, the interests of the Canadian bourgeoisie will be in maintaining and protecting their alliance with US imperialism. The US will demand the complete committment of Canada to the defense of American imperial interests and the Canadian bourgeoisie will consent without hesitation because this will protect their interests as well. The entire Canadian military will be at the command of the US. Canadian young men will be used as cannon fodder to protect American imperialist interests and Canadian manufacturing will be geared to the American war effort. By struggling against all Canadian involvement in the war, the proletariat of Canada could play an effective role in weakening US imperialism . The Canadian Marxist-Leninists (by that time organized into a party) must lead the struggle to keep Canadian troops out of the war, to refuse participation in war production and to sabotage the American war effort.

It is possible, though not likely, that Canada may become a battleground in this war. In that case, the Canadian bourgeoisie will continue to side with American imperialism against Soviet imperialism, while the Canadian proletariat must struggle in opposition to both superpowers. If a Soviet invasion of Canada were to occur without a corresponding US invasion, there would possibly be room for some tactical unity between the Canadian proletariat and the Canadian bourgeoisie against Soviet-social imperialism. But the world situation would have to have drastically altered before the US would be so weakened as to not to invade to fight off Soviet imperialism from Canada. This would be a protracted occurrence in which the proletariat and its leadership would reassess and determine its tasks. But unless the world situation were to change in a drastic and unforseen way, no basis whatsoever for any sort of united front with the Canadian bourgeoisie exists. Its alliance with the American superpower renders it useless in the struggle against the superpowers.

We mention this to clarify the RSC’s position on the question of an alliance between the Canadian proletariat and the Canadian bourgeoisie. IS! is fond of saying that the RSC’s position of Canada being an economic colony of the United States necessitates that we must conclude that an alliance between the Canadian bourgeoisie and proletariat against US imperialism is necessary in the event of either a revolutionary war or an imperialist war of redivision.

In reality, recognizing that the relationship between US imperialism and the Canadian bourgeoisie is fundamentally one of alliance leads to the conclusion that there is the possibility of alliance between the Canadian proletariat and the Canadian bourgeoisie only in the highly unlikely and remote circumstances described above.

The immediate task of Canadian Marxist-Leninists with regard to the growing possibility of war is to prepare the proletariat for it. By starting the process now of exposing both superpowers for what they are and of educating the people as to what would be the nature of the war, the Canadian Marxist-Leninist movement can build up the forces against the war. In this way the Marxist-Leninist Party will be able to lead an effective struggle to weaken US imperialism and thus strengthen the forces of revolution. There can be many forms of education and propaganda to do the ground work; articles, leaflets, public meetings, demonstrations.

Of course, there should be propaganda and agitation against the NATO and NORAD agreements which bind Canada to the US superpower and its designs. However, because of the alliance between the Canadian bourgeoisie and US imperialism, we cannot expect that Canada will withdraw from NATO or NORAD while it is still a bourgeois state.

As far as struggling to postpone war is concerned, the main role the Canadian proletariat has to play is one of support for the peoples and countries of the Third World and for the proletariat and progressive forces of Europe in their struggles against all imperialists, particulary the superpowers. Canadian proletarian support for the Palestinians, for the liberation of South Africa, in defense of the Peoples’ Republic of China and Albania, etc. are not only our internationalist duty, they are part of our own struggles to postpone war and strengthen the forces of proletarian revolution here. This support must at present mainly be in the form of propaganda and agitational literature distribution, film shows, public talks, etc. Some material support can even be gained which will not be insignificant. The Canadian proletariat has a place in the world wide united front against the superpowers.

In our pamphlet, Canada: Imperialist Power or Economic Colony?, we state two of the international tasks of Canadian Marxist-Leninists as being:

“i) to support the national liberation struggles of the peoples of the Third World .... iii) to support the revolutionary struggles of the people of the wo rid and to support the struggle of the people of Europe against the superpowers.” (p. 77) While these are correct, we omitted support for countries of the Third and Second World in their struggle against superpower hegemonism. With this pamphlet, we recognize and correct this error.

But we must always come back to the basic point that imperialism and imperialist war can only be wiped off the face of the earth by socialism and, eventually, communism establishing itself throughout the world. It is by leading the proletarian revolution here that Canadian Marxist-Leninists can best fulfill their proletarian internationalist duties. The first step, the central task for Marxist-Leninists is to build the communist party.


[1] Statistics Canada, Import/Export Figures.