A few months before the October 19 federal election, the emergence of a second “Orange Wave” in conservative Alberta has revived the hopes of those who want to get rid of the Harper government. The same phenomenon occurred two years ago when Justin Trudeau became the leader of the Liberal Party. For many, the Harper government represents a break with Canada’s mythic past: “peace-keeping,” “tolerance,” “compassion” and all those sorts of things that are supposedly part of its reputation.

The recent adoption of the Anti-Terrorist Act 2015 (Bill C-51)—which grants special powers to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) agents, creates a new criminalization of opinion (“advocating the commission of terrorism offences in general”), and facilitates preventive arrests—add a layer to this widespread perception regarding Canada’s past.

If this bill represents a step forward in the attrition of the “rights and freedoms” system that was established in the last century in Canada, and if it is true that the Harper government has been particularly zealous in this regard, it would still be wrong to see this as something exceptional, mainly explained by the reactionary character of the Conservative Party. In fact, Bill C-51 is part of, and not so different from, the whole repressive arsenal that all “Western democracies” have established since the outbreak of the Global War on Terror after 9/11.

From George W. Bush’s Patriot Act to the most recent anti-terrorism laws imposed by the “socialist” Prime Minister Manuel Valls in France, the most important bourgeois states have all reinforced their repressive capacities and implemented new tools for crushing resistance and stifling any threat to their power. The global and permanent state of crisis and instability is at the basis of this phenomenon. Recognizing this fact is not cynicism; rather, it is a wake-up call to organize in a more solid and stronger manner, and to unite and strengthen the people’s camp that includes all those who aspire to revolutionary transformation.

As we approach October 19, and because we think that the bourgeois state is part of the problem and not the solution (indeed, the bourgeois state is the problem) the Revolutionary Communist Party will again campaign for the boycott of the election. The Party calls all militant organizations, and more generally all those who are tired of the capitalist, imperialist, colonialist and patriarchal state of affairs to take part in this campaign, while at the same time to mobilizing the working and popular masses in the fight for their legitimate demands.

As we wrote right after the issuance of Bill C-51: “It is clearer than ever that there is no other option than socialism, the overthrowing of the old reactionary states and the building of workers’ and peoples’ power in all countries, if we want an end to the various forms of oppression and exploitation, and want to recognize the genuine rights and freedoms for the working majority.”

We should all, together, boycott the October 19 election! Let us mobilize to defend our rights and impose our demands! Let us fight for socialism and the end of all oppression!

The PCR-RCP Political Information Bureau

On the occasion of the holding of the 3rd Canadian Revolutionary Congress in May 2014 in Vancouver, the Political Information Bureau issued a document, which presents a Maoist analysis of the major contradictions currently characterizing Canadian society. Excerpts from that document are presented in the following pages, with the hope that this will help clarify the challenges surrounding the next federal election. The full text is available here­.

The concrete conditions in Canada

Canada is a powerful imperialist country, although this power may seem small when compared to other imperialist countries like the United States. From an external perspective, Canada appears to have escaped the brunt of the crisis. But the crisis forced a major restructuring of the economy on the Canadian bourgeoisie. On the one hand, the development of the oil industry has replaced manufacturing as the dominant force in the Canadian economy, resulting in hundreds of thousands of job losses for workers, particularly in Ontario. On the other hand, large development projects to exploit the natural resources in northern Canada have been initiated, particularly on Native territories.

Given the increasingly strong interdependence of imperialist countries in the world market, any economic, political or social instability of the largest imperialist powers (like the United States, the European Union and even China) necessarily spreads to other imperialist countries, and Canada is no exception to this situation.

Deeply integrated into the world capitalist market, the Canadian bourgeoisie has had to adapt to this new environment. Out of necessity, the bourgeoisie abandoned the policies it pursued since the end of World War II, clearly demonstrating both its adaptability and its imperialist character—if this was ever in doubt.

Throughout the post-war period, in which capitalism developed and experienced a continuous cycle of accumulation, Canadian imperialist policy in the context of the Cold War was characterized by the self-assigned ‘mediator’ role played by the Canadian bourgeoisie in service of the imperialist powers. This role was facilitated by the fact that Canada, a second order or junior imperialist country, presented itself on the world stage as a “friend” to the peoples of the Third World.

With the economic reversal and decline of capitalism in the mid-1970s, Canada gradually abandoned its mediator role and policy of stabilizing international relations, and following the collapse of the Eastern bloc, the Canadian bourgeoisie, backed by the strength of its banking system, began reorienting its policy to play a greater role in the international financial system. By doing so, Canadian imperialism occupied a far more important position politically than its real economic weight would suggest.

In fact, Canada actively participated in all initiatives that aimed to strengthen global imperialism. Promoting market liberalization, Canada fully supported “globalization” by signing various economic agreements, notably NAFTA and the free trade agreement, with the European Union. This process has matured in our times as the economic policy of the Canadian bourgeoisie carries over into Canada’s foreign policy, which militarized in order to serve the interests of Canadian capitalism.

In 2010, the Canadian economy ranked tenth place in the world—a drop in one place when compared to 2007. Characteristic of developed imperialist countries, the structure of Canadian capitalism is divided between industries producing goods (31% of GDP) and services (69%). Therefore, like other capitalist countries, Canada has a large service sector dominated by financial activities, and a goods producing sector dominated by processing activities. More specifically, the country relies on an advanced economic structure, which includes high value-added and capital-intensive activities, especially in mining, energy, construction, and processing. Moreover, the two largest contributions to the GDP come from industries related to processing and finance.

Given this economic structure, it makes sense that Canadian imperialism is a major exporter of capital (finance) and raw materials (extraction and processing). Despite persistent problems, including chronic overproduction, fluctuations in the value of the Canadian dollar, etc., Canada still ranked 9th largest exporter of goods in 2007, and 12th in volume of exports in 2012. However, it should be noted that trade relations with the United States alone produced 75% of Canadian exports. (François Roy, “Canada’s Place in World Trade 1990-2005”, Canadian Economic Observer, March 2006, p. 5-6.)

With the 2008 crisis, the benefits of integration with the United States became less obvious, especially since the latter took a protectionist turn (the Buy American Act, for instance). This is why the poor performance of the US economy, linked with certain difficulties for major pipeline projects (Keystone XL), led Canada to expand its economic activities by signing free trade agreements with South America and the European Union.

Stimulated by the high price of natural resources and the demands of the international market, which explain in part Canada’s performance on a global scale, the Harper government along with various provincial governments, including Quebec with its Plan Nord, adopted strategies to increase the exploitation of natural resources as a vector of economic growth.

Regarding the natural resources sector, which has experienced significant development in recent years, the economic crisis of the late 2000s led to a 20% drop in exports between the first quarter of 2007 and the second quarter of 2009. Despite these figures, the rise in importance of the extractive industries accompanies the shift away from the manufacturing industry and a relative decline in the manufacturing sector, especially in Ontario and Quebec. Moreover, to facilitate greater exploitation of natural resources, governments adopted amendments to environmental legislation, which for the most part consisted of lowering requirements imposed on resource extraction corporations. At the national level, the changes that led to the development of the natural resources sector (a fivefold increase in the price of oil, for example) simultaneously prevented the development of the manufacturing sector when the latter was already weakened considerably by global competition and significant regional disparities. The OECD, which is certainly no proponent of balanced development, noted in one of its reports that the growing disparities between regions “mirror these divergences in sectoral activity: the resource-rich provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland and Labrador have enjoyed the largest per capita income gains during the past decade, whereas growth has been more sluggish in the manufacturing centre of Ontario.” (OECD, Economic Surveys: Canada, June 2012) […]

The relative decline of manufacturing and the emphasis on natural resources has immediate consequences. Firstly, the working and living conditions of workers have deteriorated. Secondly, the development of projects enabling the extraction of raw materials affects more and more territories belonging to First Nations.

To develop the Canadian north, the bourgeoisie, ever since the early days of Confederation, has pursued a policy of accumulation by dispossession of the Indigenous peoples. The success of the bourgeoisie has been largely dependent on the increased penetration of Canadian capitalism into lands belonging to Indigenous peoples and the commodification of their labour.

Indigenous peoples have suffered and still suffer from systematic discrimination that clearly reveals the deeply rooted racism of Canadian imperialism. Moreover, the proletarianization of Native peoples and, conversely, their resistance are a major concern for the government, informing the government’s policy towards them. In fact, the reserves were organized in order to accomplish this forced integration of First Nations, and Indigenous peoples are still regarded by the government as a reserve army of cheap labour.

The integration of Indigenous peoples into the market is an important matter for the Canadian government; it is this integration that will enable it to develop new resources to serve capitalist industry. While the government presents these efforts in terms of “economic development” promoting the “autonomy” of First Nations, Métis and Inuit people, the fact is that this so-called “economic development” of Indigenous communities is based on an outright negation of their self-determination.

Naturally, the exploitation and degradation of natural resources is essential for the social, cultural and economic sustainability of Canadian capitalism and will, like the forced integration of Indigenous communities into capitalist relations of production and exploitation, be met with resistance. Large sections of the Indigenous population continue to resist their full absorption into capitalist relations. Their continued resistance against market relations and capitalist development inextricably link the struggle for autonomy and self-determination to the struggle against capitalism, a struggle which marks the limits of capitalist expansion in Canada. […]

It is clear that, for the bourgeoisie, the development of Canadian imperialism is dependent on the success of two policies: maximum exploitation of the working class and dispossessing Indigenous nations of their lands. The dynamics of Canadian imperialism is at the heart of many contradictions, which can only resolve in a concerted struggle against the bourgeoisie. This fact necessarily brings us to the question of revolutionary strategy. Canada as an imperialist country is conditioned by its own development, its articulations, and by the class struggle. On the one hand, the contradiction between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie stems from the capitalist economy of Canada, a contradiction that can only be resolved by a socialist revolution. On the other hand, struggles that are conducted by the Indigenous nations against Canadian imperialism will invariably lead to something taking the form of a broad national liberation struggle. […]

Developing the concrete

Without the liquidation of the bourgeoisie as the ruling class we cannot achieve a reorganization of Canadian society, nor can we enact significant change. However, we cannot achieve this goal as long as the working class continues to have faith in the forms of political action that currently dominate and serve mainly to protect bourgeois society, guaranteeing its deepest inequities. The working class must instead fight against this type of action.

The masses must reject forms of political action that are integrated into the power structure of the bourgeoisie, reject bourgeois parliamentarism, but also refuse to remain within the limits of protest set by the bourgeoisie—that is to say, refuse the discipline of bourgeois rights.

It is necessary to make a break with all practices that immobilize the revolutionary struggle, and therefore fight in order that new struggles may be waged and new practices emerge. These are the first steps we need to make to become the real movement that abolishes the present state of things and arrive at a new society free of all forms of exploitation. […]

The PCR-RCP believes that honest revolutionary forces cannot succeed in building the militant organization that the proletariat and the masses need today simply on the basis of general principles. Rather, a true revolutionary party develops through the living application of its political line, consciously assuming its conversion from a party with limited capacities to a fully transformed and complete party that has accumulated experience, membership, and a strong link with the masses. In developing, the revolutionary party converts its political strength—its activists, its fronts, its organizations, its link with the masses, etc.—into political power: initiatives, campaigns, and struggles. Becoming a political power and having a scientific understanding of the conditions of the struggle requires above all not just mastery of a specific form of struggle, but mastery of all objective forms of revolutionary struggle.

In this sense, we must invest not only in political education and propaganda, but also in revolutionary action among the masses. We should not only be interested in the immediate struggles but from these struggles prepare the revolutionary struggle. It is by controlling the objective forms of revolutionary struggle and organizing the most numerous masses that the very activity of the revolutionary party allows it to complete itself. Also, this process of transition from an incomplete party to a complete one can only be accomplished through revolutionary struggle within and alongside the masses against the bourgeois order.

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