Last Sunday, around 3,000 people took part in a demonstration asking Quebecers to vote on October 14th to roadblock Stephen Harper’s Conservatives from continuing their control over the government. Among the demonstrators were several notable figures in Canadian politics: Pablo Rodriguez, Liberal Party representative, and Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe. Standing by their side were several “Communists”, “Marxist-Leninists” and other self-proclaimed “revolutionaries”, including Trotskyist Joe Young, who reportedly was wearing the ugliest tie at the event.

After the announcement for the demonstration was made last month, the Revolutionary Communist Party immediately announced that it would not be participating. Our decision was based on one very simple yet often ignored fact – changing the system precludes investing in and legitimizing it. None of the political parties present in the election have any will to actually change how our system functions on any fundamental level. At best, we’re given hollow promises of Band-Aid treatments and loosely-fastened social security nets; scant protection against the ravages of this system and far from any solution to the problems that plague millions of working Canadians.

Several popular organizations took part in the demonstration, all participating in the hope that the assault against the working class by the bourgeoisie, symbolized by Stephen Harper, could be blunted by electing a different government. The actual effect, however, stood in stark contrast to this objective. In calling for mass participation in the upcoming Federal Election, they were not undermining the exploitative nature of Canada’s bourgeoisie; to the contrary, taking part in these elections cements and legitimizes their unquestionable authority.

With the elections just a week off, there’s little question that the Conservatives will yet again come out on top. Participation will only legitimize their victory. On the day after the vote, Harper will enact his anti-popular programs and those negatively affected will cry that they “didn’t vote for that.” They will be left with nothing save for the fact that their participation in the election has legitimized the very process which has led to this action, and their only course of reprieve will be their stubborn willingness to do it all over again. Even more ironic, Harper’s government, which will most likely have another minority government on its hands, will only be able to pass this kind of legislation with the support of other political parties – including the Bloc Quebecois itself.

In short, we have much more to gain by staying home on Election Day, to focus our energies on the real struggle to transform this system, rather than apply meaningless and ineffective patches and band-aids. The first step to revolution is the realization that the rejection of the current system is necessary; only then can change, real change, occur.

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