Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

In Struggle!

Subordinate the Struggle for National Independence to the Struggle for Socialist Revolution

First Published: In Struggle No. 70, September 16, 1976
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
Copyright: This work is in the Public Domain under the Creative Commons Common Deed. You can freely copy, distribute and display this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line as your source, include the url to this work, and note any of the transcribers, editors & proofreaders above.

The League has often criticized us for not having set ourselves with enough strength as ardent defenders of our country’s independence; this, at the moment when Canada is faced with the risk of a military aggression on the occasion of the “inevitable” world war launched by the superpowers.[1]

For the moment, let us drop the question of the inevitability of an imperialist world war as advanced by the League. We have already stated our positions on this question in our newspaper and we will have the chance to come back to it later.[2]

Rather, let us deal with the criticism which finds IN STRUGGLE! too unpatriotic for its tastes. First of all, we must admit that until now, we have effectively had a tendency to neglect the question of the struggle to protect Canada’s national independence. As far as the League’s positions on this matter are concerned, they are well known: defend Canada’s national independence against the two superpowers. On this issue we perfectly agree with the League. But where we raise questions is concerning the consequences the League draws from this correct slogan. According to the League, since the two superpowers are the two main enemies of the Canadian people, and by this very fact, a direct threat to its national independence, we must support all the “positive aspects” of our bourgeoisie’s foreign policy. According to the League, we must also support all actions for the defense of our national independence coming from our bourgeoisie since it belongs to a Second World country, victim of pressures and harassing by the two superpowers. In return, we must grieve and scold the bourgeoisie when it makes a gesture of surrender before the superpowers. This policy of supporting the imperialist bourgeoisie’s “good aspects” in its gestures of so-called national independence before the superpowers, this policy is not new within the. international communist movement. In the end, this policy leads to the most complete opportunism on international questions, it leads right to social-chauvinism, to collaboration with one’s own bourgeoisie.

The proletariat must have an independent policy on the question

What the League “forgets” is that in the struggle for the safeguard of national independence, there exists a fundamental difference of interests between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. From this follows the absolute necessity for the proletariat to have a completely independent policy on this question. Let us see how Dimitrov[3] summarizes the proletariat’s position on the question of a country’s military defense against a foreign imperialist aggression. This position is evidently the same as the one regarding the struggle for national independence:

Since today the power is in the hands of bourgeois governments who are no guarantee for the genuine defense of the country and who use the armed forces of the State against the working people, the party of the working class cannot take any political responsibility for the defense measures of these governments, and therefore opposes the war policy of the government and the military budget as a whole.[4]

And further on, he states:

While demanding effective measures from the League of Nations and the bourgeois governments against the aggression of the fascist firebrands, the proletariat must not overlook for a moment the fact that the chief, fundamental and decisive thing in the maintenance of peace is the independent action of the masses in defense of peace against the war mongers.[5]

It would be to the advantage of the comrades of the League for them to read this text over again and think about it when they preach the support for our bourgeoisie’s “good sides”, ostensibly because it is harassed by the two superpowers.

The bourgeoisie’s policy: treason against national independence

In Third World countries which are still not independent States, the struggle for national independence represents a necessary step in the process leading to the proletarian revolution. But in a country such as ours the situation is quite different. Canada, while being an imperialist country of the Second World which acquired its political independence a long time ago, is nevertheless, up to a certain point, the victim of the domination of the superpowers. In such a country, the national liberation struggle is no longer a step in the struggle for socialism, but an integral part of the struggle for socialism. Consequently, in our country the struggle for the safeguard and consolidation of national independence must be subordinate to the struggle for the proletarian revolution. Therefore. Canada is no longer in a position where it must conquer its national independence but in a situation where it must defend, broaden, and consolidate it. As a country of the Second World, and on this question we agree with the League. Canada experiences pressures and harassment from the two superpowers, mainly from U.S. imperialism which directly controls large sectors of our national economy and on which we are totally dependent for our national defence.

In the last few years, we’ve seen the Canadian bourgeoisie try to loosen the grasp of American imperialism. And on this basis, we’ve even seen this same bourgeoisie try to get closer to the countries of the Third World. But the whole question is to determine what conclusions are to be drawm from this new attitude of the Canadian bourgeoisie.

Must we conclude that the Canadian imperialist bourgeoisie has miraculously discovered that the Third World is the leading force of history and that from now on it must treat it as an equal? If such were the case, we would be very naive! Is it not better to draw the conclusion that the Canadian bourgeoisie is entirely forced by the inter-imperialist contradictions, by the pressures of the peoples and countries of the Third World and by the resistance of the Canadian proletariat, to preserve our national independence up to a certain point and to oppose the superpowers in a more or less appeasing way?

But Canada is also an imperialist country. This, the League seems to forget when it preaches the defense of national independence. By this fact, Canada is integrated into the world-wide imperialist system, to the NATO of aggression bloc for example, and’ seeks, with its very last drop of energy, to take part in the imperialist feast.

The Canadian bourgeoisie is an imperialist bourgeoisie: its essence is capitalist exploitation and repression internally. Externally, its policy is one of conquest and exploitation of foreign territories and domination over other regions of the world. Therefore, there is no qualitative difference and no insulated wall, and in no way could there be, between the Canadian bourgeoisie’s domestic and foreign policies. In fact, the foreign policies of a country such as Canada can only be the extension and manifestation of its internal social regime on the outside. Monopolist, imperialist, the Canadian bourgeoisie in power in our country is a reactionary class through and through.

What the League doesn’t see, because it doesn’t fit into its dogmatic application of the theory of the three worlds, is that it is precisely due to its imperialist policy of conquest of both zones of influence and markets that the bourgeoisie in our country is in opposition to the superpowers and has a growing interest in building relations with the Third World.

When the League considers as principal the resistance of a Second World country, resistance led by an imperialist bourgeoisie, against the vexations and constraints of the superpowers, it places the Canadian State’s imperialist nature on a secondary level. Even worst, it lets us suppose that on certain questions, the interests of the proletariat and the bourgeoisie are alike.

Our task: to relentlessly denounce our reactionary imperialist bourgeoisie

There is no need to give value to the so-called positive acts of the Canadian bourgeoisie. On the contrary, we must constantly denounce its tendency to compromises, to capitulation, to betray national interests. If not, we completely deceive the working class and the people about what we can expect from the bourgeoisie, the proletariat’s mortal enemy. The proletariat must denounce and struggle against the bourgeoisie relentlessly, in all its words and actions, without exception, including its national independence policy, which is in fact a policy of capitulation and national treason.

We must be very conscious that the superpowers, these two bastions of worldwide reaction, enemy no. 1 of all peoples, will try everything to crush the proletarian revolution not only in their own country but also in all other imperialist countries of the Second World over which they want to maintain their hegemony. Without any doubt, this will bring them to lend a helping hand to those bourgeoisies threatened by the proletarian revolution. But the League never speaks of the question of collaboration between the superpowers and the Canadian bourgeoisie in the resistance against the growing revolutionary movement.

In the concrete conditions imposed by the current division of the globe into three worlds, the struggle for national independence, the struggle to reduce the means of intervention and aggression of the superpowers constitutes a necessary preparation to the Canadian proletarian revolution. Even more, this struggle is an integral part of the struggle for the proletarian revolution.

For Marxist-Leninists, the acts of independence of the Canadian bourgeoisie are nothing but the result of its growing difficulties in facing the rising movement of struggle of the Third World peoples and countries. These acts are also the result of the intensification of inter-imperialist rivalries and of the accentuation of class confrontation within the country.

Consequently, the only just conclusion to draw concerning the tasks of Marxist-Leninists in relation to the national independence struggle is the following: use the contradictions and difficulties of the Canadian bourgeoisie to the maximum in order to unmask the superpowers, to reinforce the camp of the proletarian revolution in our country, and to intensify the class struggle against our decadent and reactionary bourgeoisie.

Does this mean that Marxist-Leninists mustn’t pay attention to the immediate struggle to preserve national independence? Absolutely not! But on this question, as on any other political question. Marxist-Leninists draw a clear line of demarcation between the interests of the proletariat and those of the bourgeoisie. Concerning national independence, Marxist-Leninists must be guided by the superior interests of the proletarian revolution in our country and in the world. They must unequivocally subordinate the struggle for national independence to the struggle for socialist revolution.

Clearly, the struggle against the superpowers is only meaningful for the proletariat if it is conducted with the aim of weakening imperialism in the world, the principal obstacle to the socialist revolution.


[1] Particularly in The Forge Vol. 1 No 8 p. 10-11.

[2] IN STRUGGLE! Vol. 3 No 19. p. 12.

[3]Secretary General of the Communist International in the 1930’s

[4] G. Dimitroff. The United Front, Proletarian Publishers. San Francisco. 1975, p. 178.

[5] Ibid. p. 182.