“The oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class are to represent and repress them.”
― Karl Marx ”
As election season kicks off in Ontario once again, we are again bombarded with the typical bourgeois slogans championing one representative of the bourgeoisie over another. “All out to defeat Ford”, rings eerily similar to the 2015 Federal election – “Anything But Harper” and the 2016 US Presidential Election – “All Out To Defeat Trump”. This is to be expected living within a bourgeois “democratic” country like Canada, but expected or not, how long until we move past these same old routines that result only in more attacks on the colonized and working class at home, more exploitation of the colonized and working class abroad, and more devastation and disregard for our natural environment.
Imperialism is imperialism, whether its draped in Liberal Red, Conservative Blue or Social Democratic Orange, and imperialism is the elephant in the room that not only the parties themselves choose to ignore – but the advocates of those parties also – including , disappointingly, those who call themselves communists and socialists.
Now granted, in Ontario this is only a provincial election. What could the provinces or a provincial political party do to combat imperialism? Why are you mentioning imperialism in the context of a provincial election? Well, there is plenty that a provincial party and election could do. First off, it could mention the reality of Imperialism on the National scale and actively work to educate the electorate about the truth, nature and process of Canadian Imperialism; both at home and abroad – at a bare minimum. If it were so inclined, it could develop a platform that works to remove Ontario from the union of imperialist provinces and promote an exit from said Imperialist Union. There is a party in Northern Ontario – they are monarchists mind you and not socialists – who have adopted a platform to separate Northern Ontario and create a new province out of the North. This party mind you does not want to secede from the union of imperialist provinces, but only seeks more control and power over the resources and activities of this northern half of Ontario. This party and it’s tactics are not a solution to the question of imperialism, but it is an example of a direction that a socialist or communist movement could advocate for – but which at nearly every instance do not, or have not considered. Instead, we have Social Democratic Communists developing a platform within a bourgeois democratic framework and competing with the bourgeois parties for control of the bourgeois ship, or worse, championing the cause of the bourgeois NDP; and attempting to justify it as defending the rights and lives of workers in the context of an “All out to defeat Ford” of “Anything but Wynn” or the same typical and predictable channelling of legitimate working class angst and resistance into the acceptable cartel party election facade.
“But Lenin said we should participate in parliamentary elections.”, is the response that echos from those who would have read this as a condemnation of parliamentary participation. Not at all is it that. And in fact Lenin did say to participate in elections so long as the majority of society were still invested in them – which arguably enough of a percentage are. Take part in elections and the parliamentary process so that we may demonstrate in their forum the utter bankruptcy of the bourgeois parliamentary party system; not to compete within the same framework on platforms that would exist within the same framework of society, not to “take hold of the ready-made state-machinery and wield it for their own ends.” And certainly not to champion a bourgeois democratic cartel party on the basis of defending the rights of workers or a lesser evil mentality.
“Abolish the party system!” How’s that for a slogan and a platform? If lesser-evilism is a constant reality, then that reality is made possible only by the party system itself ( within the context of a bourgeois democratic society – capitalism and class society are in reality at the root of the matter ) and as such real defence, real championing and defending of the workers and working class – as they say they are doing – would illustrate this fact and forward this slogan which actually centres and fixes at least that aspect of the problems of lesser-evilism. “Abolish the party system!” instead we hear “Change For The Better” from the Orange wave of salvation that we once again MUST rally around in order to prevent a “Wynn” or “Ford” Ontario.
“Abolish the Party System!” “Separate From The Union Of Imperialist Provinces!” “Socialism or Barbarism!” “Let Us Fight For Socialism And Our Demands!” “All Power To The People!” These are the slogans and actions that take the colonized and working class people as their starting point and premise as opposed to a market to be sold to and ultimately bought. And it’s these slogans and actions that are lacking.
“Defending the workers and the rights of workers.” This is something we hear often from all political parties as well as those who feel the need to justify support for certain political parties, but rarely is that question followed up with questions like “which ones?”, “at which ones expense?”, “where do the benefits and profits we enjoy and increase come from?” etc. Failing to properly dissect and understand the context in which the world economy works – and affects individual provinces as a result – ( on purpose in the case of the bourgeois cartel parties ) “Defending the workers and the rights of workers” becomes a rallying cry very often being used to increase the exploitation of workers outside of our countries at the hands of our imperialist states. Inadvertently succumbing to the buy off made by the capitalist ruling class, through which they seek to lessen tensions at home so that they can increase exploitation, militarism, and as such, profits abroad. No consideration is given to the real life cost on the other end by the corporations or imperialist states responsible, and as a result of a successful buy off, and through a successful channelling of legitimate working class discontent, which could have been transformed into international solidarity and action, very little consideration is given by the mass of working class people at home – who have succumb to the “working class nationalism” that says we are different than our counterparts on the other end of our mining companies or jackboots. We become in the service of our bourgeois ruling class, based on the pretext of self-preservation, in the international struggle for proletarian emancipation and as such we place ourselves in the enemy camp.
I don’t fault the NDP for their role in these things, the NDP is a capitalist party representing the capitalist ruling class and designed for just the purpose of channelling that energy to avoid actual and legitimate social upheaval and a change in the social relations of production. Just as I won’t hold it against them that they do not properly inform the working class about the true nature of class society and how it is tied concretely to peoples relations to production and the social relations of a society built based on those relations to production. The NDP is a capitalist party and as such they will champion the ideas and actions necessary to salvage the capitalist class and the capitalist system; they will never go beyond things like an increase in taxation on the rich for example. This is evident by the most recent leadership race of the NDP – ignoring the $30, 000 price tag to contend for leadership in this “working class” party – in which Niki Ashton dipped back to “The Regina Manifesto” – which does challenge the capitalist system, not enough, but by today’s comparison in a very meaningful way- and the results of the leadership race. It is clear that the NDP is the party of capitalist refuge from working class discontent and not the party of working class champions ready to lead to us to power.
“Abolish the Party System!” “Separate From The Union Of Imperialist Provinces!” “Socialism or Barbarism!” “Let Us Fight For Socialism And Our Demands!” “All Power To The People!” These are the slogans and actions that would champion the working class, that would truly “Defend the workers and the rights of workers”. But these slogans are nowhere on the lips of the cartel parties who say we need to defeat Ford, or defeat Wynn or whatever the order of the day is. “Change For The Better”, that’s the slogan of these champion’s of the working class – in fact these champions of Imperialism.
“Boycott the Vote” is a result of a correct analysis of the situation given the context of Canadian “democracy” but with some things left to be considered. “Boycott the vote” but not the parliamentary election process perhaps? And especially considering the recent removal of the $1000 price tag to be able to contend in the federal elections. One could participate in the election while promoting a boycott/occupation campaign and based on the demands of the true working class slogans mentioned above. “Don’t Vote! , Boycott and Occupy, Let Us Fight For Socialism And Our Demands”. Rather than encouraging people to vote, we would encourage them to occupy important spaces and instead make demands – in true democratic form.
Platform Plank / Demand #1 – “Abolish the Party System!”
the colonized and working class of our country and the world are subject to the dictates of the minority capitalist class through their governing apparatus which includes both the parliamentary system and the party system, as such nothing less than the abolition of the party system itself and the party system of government is necessary to combat this reality and disconnect between the will of the people and the deeds of our representatives. The party system is outdated representing a mere 2% of the population – taken by % of voters registered as members of parties – and has failed, continuously. That is unless we observe it from the class perspective of our capitalists, in which case the party system has served them quite well.
Platform Plank/ Demand #2 – “Separate From The Union Of Imperialist Provinces!”
Provincially the cartel parties that are forced on the people in the name of choice and democracy not only consistently fail to represent the will of the people elected by them, but continue to exploit the land, resources,labour etc of both the colonized and working class people within provincial borders in favour of international corporations and the capitalist ruling class. Sudbury, Ontario is a perfect example of the contradictions of capitalism and how they manifest in society; we have the largest nickel deposit in the world and one needs only to walk the streets of Sudbury for a short time to see the stark contrast between the implications of being so rich in resources and the reality that the people of Sudbury face daily. Sudbury is just one example of countless cities across Canada and in fact around the world. Separation from the union of imperialist provinces has to be the demand of the champions of the working class – champions of the working class both at home and internationally, because the working class is one class not separated by borders, as capital is not separated by borders so our solidarity and “defence of the workers and the rights of the working class” is also not separated by borders.
Platform Plank / Demand #3 – “Socialism or Barbarism!”
These words, truer now than when they were written, are the bare minimum that anyone who claims to be “for the people” or “for the working class” should be speaking. Anything less than these words falls short of the truth. Capitalism has not only been a dying and decaying system for decades that will not relinquish power on its own accord and instead like a parasite will feast and devour until it has killed both itself and its host. Thus is the nature of a parasite, and thus is the reality we are witnessing daily 100 years into Imperialism – capitalism’s highest stage. There’s millions of children starving, there’s millions of people dying in imperialist wars for plunder, power and redivisons of world markets and resources, there’s ecological crisis and constant economic crisis. To look around the planet and see anything other than barbarism in the manifestation globally of the contradictions between a very small global capitalist ruling class and a very large exploited and destitute colonized and working class is to just willingly close ones eyes to reality. To continue to support models and systems of society that not only facilitate this barbarism but actively support it through the division of the international working class on the basis of luxury and buyoffs to one section, is to clearly and plainly step into the camp of the enemy. Socialism or Barbarism was true in its warning then, it’s true in it’s reality now, and it is the least that is required if we are to be actively in the support and defence of workers and workers rights – not just in Ontario, not just in Canada, but internationally; as none of the parts are separated from the whole.
Platform Plank / Demand #4 – “Let Us Fight For Socialism And Our Demands!”
There are many struggles that exist within society and those struggles should absolutely be fought. Its the form in which and the content and context through which those struggles are fought that is the decisive factor in determining which class those struggles ultimately serve. Minimum wage increases for example are not a bad thing and are an inherent part of the struggle between capital and labour – explained quite well in “Value, Price and Profit” by Marx, but a minimum wage increase is not the entirety of the question. Within the context of a capitalist society, where would the supposed wage increase come from? From the profits of the capitalist, reply advocates. Or, from the tax increase on the wealthy. Ok, but where do capitalist profits come from? We know that profit is derived from the excess labour that a worker provides above the subsistence required for that worker to return to work the next day and continue the process. We also know that the process of consumer society is such that a product, service and as such wage of a particular employee is not considered in the context of itself as a standalone thing, but in relation to the entire process of production required in order to be able to provide whatever product or service is being provided in the consumer society – which involves many parts and workers – and as such any change in the conditions in one part of the process – such as a minimum wage increase in Canada – will have an affect on another part; usually a worker in a seemingly disconnected part of the process of production – somewhere throughout the imperialist chain of production from raw materials to finished product and/or service. On the alternative, its very rare to hear in response to the question of where the increase should / would come from that in fact the nationalization and socialization of the resources and means of production of society should be used to fund not only minimum wage increases but to fund many if not all of the social services necessary in Canada. This would in fact not only draw attention to the reality of capitalist Imperialism – of which Canada is happily a part of – but the fact that we ultimately benefit from the exploitation and oppression of those at the other end of our “consumer society imperialism”, and that that benefit is a direct tactic of the capitalist ruling class to remove international solidarity between workers, which would effectively spell the beginning of the end of global capitalist imperialism – and which would in fact be in the service of the working class. Our “champions of the working class” – that is our “working class nationalists” at every time fail to draw clear lines of demarcation between the form, content and context through which these struggles are fought and should be fought. “Let Us Fight For Socialism And Our Demands” because our demands are just demands in a capitalist wage-slave society, and because Socialism is the recognition of those just demands in the context of justice for all workers and colonized people involved in the process of production under Imperialism.
Platform Plank / Demand #5 – “All Power To The People!”
“The people, and the people alone, are the motive force in the making of world history. “ – Mao Tse Tung
We live in a democracy we’re told. Without getting into the many ways we are far from a democracy – the Canadian democratic system has been explored here https://acommunistcanada.wordpress.com/2017/05/27/explore-democracy/ – it is acceptable to say that “All Power To The People” is the embodiment of democratic ideals and democratic theory put into action in society. A modest demand for a class of people who already operate society and make sure society functions but are now ready to realize our ability to command society on our behalf as well. We elect representatives who don’t represent us and have no accountability when they sell us out. We elect political parties and platforms that we’ve had no hand in shaping or moulding under the promise that they will keep their promises in the aftermath. Since when has the idea of democracy been rooted in promises instead of power. Democracy has always meant the power of the people. “All Power To The People!” There’s various ways that the expression of this power by the people could manifest itself in a society not bound by the dictates of imperialism and shackled to the Union Of imperialist Provinces, but where are even the voices of basic people’s democracy in the halls of the bourgeois cartel parties and in the pages of their platforms? Where are the proposals for automatic recall laws when failing to represent the will of the people? Where are proposals to make access to the democratic processes more accessible to the common person in society? Where are the proposals to remove political parties from being able to form governments in favour of independent candidates. None of these proposals would challenge the capitalist foundations of society and even these modest – but self removing – modifications to “democracy” are too much for our capitalists and their parties to surrender to the people. And none of the “champions of the working class” who shamelessly support these cartel parties draw these conclusions in favour of the colonized and working people of the province, the country and the world; instead in cheap salesman fashion they parrot the imperialist party slogans and sales pitch in an attempt to seduce the working class away from its own interests. This is unacceptable from anyone who claims to be in support of, in defence of or in the camp of the working class and oppressed people of the world and should be called out as such. “All Power To The People!” otherwise it remains “All Power To The Capitalists. All Power To Imperialism!”
““No ruling class has ever laid down its privileges without a struggle. It becomes, therefore, self-evident that the struggle of the proletariat with the bourgeoisie will be of a violent revolutionary character.” – Lucy Parsons
““If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal.” – Emma Goldman
It is expected during election season that the bourgeois imperialist cartel parties will sell themselves to the working class and colonized people as the saviours of all our ills if we would only invest our trust in them, then they surely will not let us down – this time. This has become as accustomed to us in Canada as the changing of the seasons. But when those who call themselves socialists or communists do the same thing on behalf of the imperialists and capitalists – regardless of the justification, given the context of what that actually means – then they abandon the working class in favour of the scraps and self preservation offered by our masters. Don’t be those comrades. Study the situation not just on a local level, but how that connects to a provincial, federal, international level. Study the connections between the exploitation of resources in Sudbury for example, or your local region, and that of workers in Africa and Latin America at the hands of the same capitalists. Study the differences between the exploitation itself in the host country where the capitalists house their corporations and companies and the exploitation in colonized countries – and how the differential serves imperialism. And study how nationalization and socialization of these resources for example into the common ownership of society and the expropriation of these capitalist giants at the head of the worlds plunder not only benefit the worker here in Canada in the immediacy, but removes the condition – or at least has begun to – where workers need to struggle against capitalists and bosses for the basic necessities of life and right to access those necessities based on scales of poverty, which are in turn rooted in the private-ownership of the means of production of society – or capitalist organization.
Our “champions” in the NDP fail to represent the workers when they fail to present the class dynamic that is at the root of global imperialism and global capitalism; a dynamic that is based on the social relations toward the productive forces of society and the organization of society based on those relations. Instead the NDP does not challenge the structure and idea of property relations and ownership, but rather proposes that we increase the taxes imposed on those who profit from this system of exploitation when in fact we should be abolishing it completely. The NDP makes no mistakes about where it’s loyalties lie and neither do socialists or communists who take the NDP at their words and actions. From the failure to present and oppose class society among the working class, to its continued support for imperialist military aggression during the “War on Terror” that began officially in 2001, the NDP has more than once accurately and articulately presented what class it hails from, represents, supports and is loyal to and what class it isn’t. Our Socialists and Communists fail to be such in any meaningful way when they place themselves under the banner of imperialism via the banner and slogans of their bourgeois imperialist cartel parties.
“Abolish the Party System!” “Separate From The Union Of Imperialist Provinces!” “Socialism or Barbarism!” “Let Us Fight For Socialism And Our Demands!” “All Power To The People!” – These are the slogans and actions of international working class solidarity in the context of Canadian Imperialism and Provincial and/or Federal elections. What could a provincial party do to combat imperialism? All of the above and no less it seems. What could internationalist socialists and communists do to combat imperialism in the context of Canadian provincial elections? All of the above it seems.
There is a possibility that in the process of bringing the “Boycott the Vote” campaign into the elections that inadvertently multiple independent candidates would be elected to seats of parliament. This is in no way the goal since as is clearly pointed out in the above link about Canadian democracy, and in the quotes posted throughout, parliament is not the road by which a change in the social relations of production of society from private to common will take place; however, should that be the case that parliament see’s itself populated with “independent socialist candidates”, that will present the basis for a new set of potentials and possibilities surrounding the ability to return revolutionary politics to the state-political apparatus; both provincially and federally. But again, this is not the aim.
In the wake of another provincial election in Ontario, and the unfortunate reality of seeing socialists and communists abandon the working class to champion the bourgeoisie, all I can say is:
“Abolish the Party System!” “Separate From The Union Of Imperialist Provinces!” “Socialism or Barbarism!” “Let Us Fight For Socialism And Our Demands!” “All Power To The People!”
– Blungey McGrues