Enthusiastic activists at the 2nd Canadian Revolutionary Congress

Anonyme, Friday, February 11, 2011 - 15:22


The Revolutionary Communist Party (PCR-RCP) gathered dedicated activists last December 11th, in Toronto, for the second Canadian Revolutionary Congress.

Supporters of the RCP invited the participants of this meeting to debate and establish some common revolutionary perspectives, for the purpose of unifying and mobilizing across the country in the coming year. This second congress took place in a comradely and enthusiastic atmosphere, gathering participants from Toronto and the GTA, from Ottawa, and from several regions of Quebec. Although concentrated in Ontario, it was nevertheless a significant breakthrough in organizing the revolutionary forces in Canada. In addition to unorganized individuals and members of the RCP, activists from far-left organizations attended the meeting, including supporters of the Revolutionary Initiative, and several activists of the Social Revolution Party, based in Ottawa.

For the RCP, the fact that common perspectives and actions were adopted is a very positive step forward. The most striking aspect of the day was undoubtedly the widely shared desire to act and to advance the revolutionary struggle, rather than maintaining the status-quo. In this period of capitalist crisis and attacks of the bourgeoisie against the proletariat, neither words nor a spontaneous movement are enough. Neither the bourgeois system, nor its false democracy, can liberate the workers from exploitation and injustice. These facts show why we need to launch a “new class struggle in Canada.” The new class struggle was the central topic of the discussions and the proposals.

The day began with a presentation from an RCP comrade on the theme of a new class struggle. She first underlined the historical character of the day, saying “we meet today, not only to resist capitalism, but because we share the same desire to change this oppressive system through revolution and communism.” She praised the fact that we came from a multitude of backgrounds, acknowledging that “we are all here with different experiences, whether it be in a political organization, within grass-root or student movements, in labor unions, working with unemployed, immigrants, groups of women, or Natives, etc.” She also set the tone of the political goals of the meeting by establishing a clear path forward. “But at the same time, together trying to unite our forces for a far more difficult and important struggle: the one to unify the most conscious forces among the proletariat and to link with the Native nations, in order to transform radically this society, fight capitalism and its bourgeoisie, and end this so-called democratic system through revolution and communism.”

Quoting various examples that prove that the Canadian bourgeois state, despite its boasting, is not democratic, the speaker recalled what has been done to Omar Khadr. Khadr has been a prisoner at Guantanamo since the age of 15 and has been condemned by the U.S. state with the complicity of Canada. She raised the issue of Canada’s military presence in Afghanistan, which will be extended by the Conservatives until 2013 despite a parliamentary vote to the contrary. The gross mistreatment of Aboriginal peoples by the Canadian bourgeoisie since the beginning of Canada, and more recently: the invasion by the Canadian army during the Oka crisis in 1990, Ontario Police harassment against Shawn Brant and the Mohawks from Tyendinaga that last for years, etc. was recounted. She evoked the fate of those 400 refugees arrived from Sri Lanka last August and who were treated by the Canadian government as if they were terrorists, “while they were asking for compassion and safety from this famous democratic State.” Finally, she did not fail to recall how Ontario Police arrested and detained more than one thousand demonstrators in Toronto, “with no charges and in despicable conditions thanks to this supposed Canadian ‘democracy’ during the G20 Summit, last June.”

Through these examples, she asserted, “we know that this State and this system belong and are managed by one class, a minority one. We know that we do not belong to this system. We do not belong to this class of exploiters and liars. What we all want is to fight for a new society free from exploitation, oppression, racism and injustice, a classless society based on equality and justice for the proletariat and that will ensure everyone a decent life. This society is communism. And we must say and spread it out loud.”

Echoing a statement from the RCP declaration, she recalled “that we meet here to finally fill a gap: the one between theory and revolutionary practice. Too often in the past we separated the communist words from the communist practice. How can we on one side, call for revolution and for destroying the system and on the other side, submit ourselves in fact to the rules set by the bourgeoisie in the course of our struggles? Does this mean that when any new law is set to repress us, we will take a new step back?” The first thing to do to take the revolutionary path is to break with this submission to the framework imposed on us by the bourgeoisie. There is no better example of breaking with that submission and of speaking to the masses of revolution today, than by calling up to boycott the elections. It is one example among others of the kind of proposals that can contribute to relaunch a new class struggle in Canada. The holding of openly revolutionary demonstrations on May 1st, both in Montreal and in Toronto and everywhere possible, is another example, quite as the active support of people’s wars in the world.”

She called on revolutionaries and activists isolated in their county, their city or their province to get organized with the RCP in proletarian revolutionary action committees in order to propagate slogans and actions against capitalism. The speaker ended by expressing “the hope that this congress will mean a leap forward in the way to unify all the strengths who want revolution, who want to go beyond words and who will in fact transform reality.”

The participants then discussed the declaration and the proposals published by the RCP some weeks before the congress, in the document “The proletarian movement we need”.

This document recalled at first that the current crisis, far from being only a bad moment provoked by the American real estate crisis, represents in fact a break of the fragile and unstable balance of the capitalist world. This break opens a period of disorder and turbulence which will not stop. The bourgeoisie in each imperialist country–including Canada!–is on the offensive to attack the rights and living conditions of the proletariat, just to maintain their profit rates. Contrary to what the Canadian capitalists want us to believe, they are at the top of the world as exploiters of human and natural resources, and their multinationals have concentrated huge amounts of capital in their hands.

Faced with this offensive of the bourgeoisie in the class struggle, the Canadian left, from reformists to the most radical, has been unable to counter attack nor to organize an offensive struggle and victory for the proletariat. Marked by bourgeois nationalism, the Canadian left has become an auxiliary of Canadian imperialism. We can find the same phenomenon in Quebec with the PQ and its project of independence and of collaboration with the Québec bourgeoisie. All participants rallied behind this analysis and agreed on this failure of the Canadian left. The participants also agreed that electoralism and parliamentarism are both dead-ends for the class struggle and the proletariat.

The afternoon then opened with a presentation from a comrade on the new proletarian movement to be built. In the discussion that followed, several activists of the RCP, active in different circles, brought new insight and personal experiences in building and leading such a movement. For some, it took the form of campaigns and actions taken, for example, against the Canadian military’s recruitment of young working class poor in their region. Others reported on the work done by the Revolutionary Student Movement (MER-PCR). Others talked about the Proletarian Revolutionary Feminist Front, which marked the centennial of International Women’s Day. Finally, a comrade from Montreal presented prospects for developing the Revolutionary Workers Movement among the working class.

Before discussing the proposals, another comrade gave an overview of the current international communist movement and the different perspectives offered by the contemporary people’s wars in Nepal, India and the Philippines headed by Maoist parties. He particularly emphasized how these examples showed the way forward and imposed their leadership by example in the international revolutionary movement. As concluded by the comrade, “we must support these revolutions and follow their example.”

Although discussions throughout the day had made extensive mention of these themes, it was in the last part of the day that activists discussed the concrete proposals in the document. The participants fully supported without reserve the boycott of the next federal election. The boycott will be an active boycott of course, to the extent that everyone recognizes that there is a strong feeling at present in the proletariat of defeatism and skepticism in the system, and a recognition that all electoral parties in Canada are fundamentally the same. The majority of interventions had highlighted the necessity, above all else, to actively spread this reality.

The appeal to “call for revolutionary May Day demonstrations in Montreal and Toronto in 2011" opened up excellent discussions, particularly with activists in Toronto. These discussions focused in particular on two separate protests held there last year in relation to the anarchist milieu. With good reason, a friend from Quebec had emphasized the experiences of such events held in Montreal, “when all things considered, it is better to tie in with actions side by side with anarchists who want to change the system, rather than with revisionists who claim to be revolutionary but refuse to act accordingly.” After a frank discussion in which supporters of the Revolutionary Initiative group expressed their reservations about its feasibility, the proposal was eventually joined with enthusiasm for the rest of the entire meeting. Our comrades from Ottawa even added that such a revolutionary event should also be called for in their city.

As for the proposal to “make The Red Flag/Le Drapeau Rouge newspaper a Canada-wide publication whose purpose is to spread communism and proletarian revolution all across the country,” it rallied the majority in the Congress, although political organizations that were present other than the RCP preferred to abstain for the moment. The Congress also voted to organize a training day in Ottawa to present the newspaper and the need to develop such a tool of revolutionary propaganda.

Finally, the call to set up proletarian revolutionary action committees in Ontario and across Canada, wherever possible, greatly excited the entire Congress. If the principle rallied everyone, the real challenge will come in the weeks and months ahead, where we will attempt to establish these committees in as many regions and cities as is possible. These committees will then henceforth, as the statement says, “be the embryo of a new proletarian movement which will unite different circles, among youth, women and workers of all origins and backgrounds.”

The holding of such a gathering, to organize and propagate actions that will address all of Canada and which will organize for revolution and communism, is in itself a historic moment. We have not seen this since the past Marxist-Leninist movements of the early 1980s. For now, this initiative is mainly in Ontario and Quebec, but the goal of spreading the campaigns and actions throughout Canada was widely shared by all participants. A proposal that came from the floor at the conclusion of the Congress was adopted, calling on the RCP to organize a third CRC in two years, in Winnipeg or the Maritimes, depending on conditions and developments in the struggle within the country. In all, there was a clear revolutionary and militant spirit that prevailed in Toronto during the December 2010 Congress. We hope that it accompanies us throughout the year 2011!


Taken from Arsenal-Express, No. 34, February 11, 2011.
Arsenal-Express is an electronic newsletter that presents the viewpoints from the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) of Canada.
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