First Published: The Forge, Vol. 4, No. 32, September 19, 1979
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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That Robert Côté, member of the Workers Communist Party, is running in the Montreal Maisonneuve by-election is a sign of the growth and maturity of the communist movement in our country.
Quebec is entering a period of intense political debate leading up to the referendum slated for the spring. The by-elections are considered to be the opening round in the referendum campaign, a trial run in which the various political forces will put forward their programs and try to win popular support.
Major labour struggles in Quebec, like that of the Common Front in the public sector, also heighten the importance, of the by-election by forcing the bourgeois parties to lay out their anti-labour policies.
It is an ideal time for the WCP to assert itself on the Quebec political scene and to bring the communist point of view on the burning questions facing Quebec workers to the broadest numbers of people.
Maisonneuve riding is a good choice for the first participation of Marxist-Leninists in elections. It is a working-class riding which includes some of the largest plants in the Montreal area.
Maisonneuve residents, like workers all over Canada, are suffering the effects of the economic crisis. There is high unemployment in the riding, housing conditions are miserable and inflation is running rampant.
Militants in our Party have been active in this riding for several years now. We have initiated and participated in many struggles in local plants, such as Canadian Vickers, Canadian Steel, MLW and Atlas Asbestos. We are active in community groups in the area, such as the daycare centres, medical clinics and food co-ops.
This Is a riding which voted for the PQ in the last three provincial elections. Robert Burns, the outgoing incumbent, always promoted the idea that the PQ is a workers’ party, and that he, as an individual, fought within the party to turn its policies in a more “socialist” direction.
But with the crumbling of the PQ’s pro-labour image, and in particular the confrontation forecast for the fall between the labour movement and the government, disillusionment over the PQ’s real nature is apparent in many workers.
Many of the labour militants who once supported and worked for the PQ are bitterly disappointed. Others have joined our Party. The by-election will be an excellent chance to continue to show workers in the area what the PQ really is and prove that the WCP is the only real alternative for Canadian workers.
We especially want to show. that the so-called left wing of the PQ merely covers up the PQ’s anti-tabour actions, and that it will never bring us socialism.
We want to use the elections as a tribune for denouncing the ills of capitalism, for showing up the PQ and the Liberals for what they are and for developing widespread agitation on socialism as the only solution to oppression and exploitation by capital.
Our participation in the by-election is just part of an important political campaign we are launching in Quebec in the coming months to publicize our Party and denounce the PQ.
The key aspects of our campaign will be the support for and development of workers’ struggles – like the Common Front struggle against the PQ – and the popularization of our position on the national question.
The measure of our success will not be the number of votes we win in Maisonneuve, but rather by the extent to which we have popularized our viewpoint and rallied workers to our ranks.
Communist participation in elections is one form of struggle used to build up our influence among the workers. Our Party does not believe that the working class can take power through the ballot box. We believe that the capitalists will never hand over power peacefully, and the experience of the workers’ movement has born this out time and time again.
Capitalism is a violent, oppressive system. Everyday hundreds of workers are massacred in the factories, and maimed by the capitalists in their race for profits.
Police repression rains down on strikers and union activists, racist attacks and murders of Blacks, national minorities and immigrant workers are common occurences. The capitalists maintain thier power through reactionary violence. The working class will overthrow them and take power through revolutionary violence.
Thus, while taking part in the by-election, we will expose the farce of capitalist democracy. We will call on workers to intensify the class struggle, and to reject the demagogy and phoney promises of the capitalist parties. For communists, elections are a way of winning workers to the revolutionary cause.
Workers support your Party!
Support the candidacy of Robert Côté!
Join the ranks of the Workers Communist Party
Political Bureau of the Workers Communist Party