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Unite to Stop the Right!

Source: CP Canada website

For Peace, Jobs, Sovereignty and Democracy – Put People before Profits

Political Report of the March 4th & 5th Central Committee meeting of the Communist Party of Canada

The International Situation

The most significant event since our October plenum, is the election of US President Donald Trump and of Republican majorities in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. This is the worst possible electoral outcome for the US working class, for the international working class, for the environment, and for movement towards global peace, disarmament and mutual security. It is also an immediate threat to Canadian jobs and wages, environmental security, health and social programs. It sharply accelerates the attack on Canadian sovereignty and independence.

On the basis of the popular vote, Hilary Clinton won 3 million more votes than Donald Trump. However, the election results are determined by the Electoral College, an indirect system set up by the slave-owners in 1789 to ensure the popular will does not prevail over class interests. Though both candidates represented capitalist corporate interests, the Electoral College system facilitated the election of Trump over Clinton, and the installation of the most reactionary US government, including fascists like Stephen Bannon.

Parsing the vote data after the election, it’s clear that Clinton had the same coalition of forces supporting her that Obama had, but without the same breadth and depth. The AFL-CIO supported her, as did the main Black and Hispanic organizations, women’s organizations, etc. But a significant number of their members either didn’t vote, couldn’t vote because of extensive voter suppression in key states, or didn’t vote for Clinton. A small percentage voted for Green Party candidate Jill Stein and other progressive candidates, and an even larger number voted Libertarian, showing significant dissatisfaction with the Democrats and Republicans. But many more voted for Trump, including an estimated 30% of trade union members, 53% of white women voters, 29% of Hispanics, 8% of African Americans, and 46% of youth between the ages of 18 and 29. Why?

Clinton was the candidate of the banks and many of the biggest corporations, the 1%.   She was the face of Wall Street, those who caused the 2008 economic crisis and were bailed out at public expense while millions lost their jobs, their homes, and saw their wages and pensions stripped and their security evaporate. Trump was the candidate of the oil and energy industry, some sections of the financial industry and of the military and police. Trump zeroed in on NAFTA and the fact it was Bill Clinton who signed the deal, enabling corporations to put their factories on skids, spiriting away good manufacturing jobs and wages, leaving millions destitute, bankrupt, without any hope of a future. Meanwhile the Clintons and the super-rich continued to amass huge personal fortunes and the banks and corporations continued to amass enormous profits. Trump skillfully used these facts to attack Hilary Clinton, to deflect attention from his own status as a multi-billionaire ($3.7 billion according to Forbes), and to make her personally responsible for the capitalist crisis that had caused such misery and disaster across the USA.

As well, Clinton was widely recognized as a Secretary of State who campaigned for a foreign policy of war, aggression, and regime change, with military budgets to match. She was reviled by a large section of American voters, who didn’t agree with the Democratic Party establishment that they had to vote for her by default, and they didn’t.

While Trump focused on lining up the working class vote, the left wing in the Democratic Party scattered after Bernie Sanders’ defeat in the primaries. There was little appetite for left-wing Democrats who had spent months fighting Clinton in the primaries, to campaign for her in the election. Furthermore, most observers believed Clinton’s election was a foregone conclusion, that Trump could not win the election.   There was also the naïve view that compared to Clinton, Trump was a peace candidate because of his stated ability to work with Putin to find political solutions. Combined with widespread voter suppression, it was enough to launch Trump into office, and to secure Republican majorities in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Four months after the election, it’s also evident that the Trump vote was not a homogenous block, but comprised of divergent parts, including working class voters who wanted to register their anger and opposition to Clinton and the Democrats, by voting for Trump. These people were not ideologically committed to Trump and the GOP, but were deeply angry and wanted real change, which Trump promised to deliver.

The demand for real, immediate, and fundamental change was the biggest single factor in the election campaign, which Trump jumped on with right-wing populist fervor, while Clinton represented the status quo, promising more of the same, which infuriated working class voters who were the victims of those policies. When Sanders was defeated in the primaries, the Democrats’ claim to be the party for working people disappeared with him, despite the fact that significant parts of Sanders’ policies had been added to Clinton’s policy book.

Other parts of the eclectic Trump coalition included 90% of all Republicans, including the many prominent GOP leaders who said they would never vote for Trump under any circumstances. But in fact they did. The Trump coalition also included the fascist right, led by Stephen Bannon and Breitbart News; hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer, a key figure in the far right strategy to use Facebook and other social media to manipulate popular thinking; the white supremacists, including David Duke and the KKK; sections of the police and military, the militias and other paramilitary groups; the NRA; and a very wealthy and powerful group of billionaires, bankers, oilmen, and generals, who financed this “outsider” campaign, and who now fill the Cabinet and other key government posts. The troops on the ground were Tea Party supporters, supporters of the men’s rights movement and opponents of women’s reproductive rights, of LGBTQi rights, of civil and equality rights, of immigrant and refugee rights, and of immigration per se, of labour rights; opponents of Obamacare, of Black Lives Matter and the indigenous and environmental movements at Standing Rock, climate change deniers, Islamophobes, homophobes, misogynists, racists, and so on.

It was a coalition of the extreme right, financed by a section of the very wealthy, which appealed directly to the angry and the dispossessed white petit bourgeoisie, and the and most backward sections of the working class. One of its main characteristics was its barely concealed appeals to violence, seen repeatedly at Trump rallies where protesters were attacked with Trump’s approval, and where a main slogan and refrain was “Lock her up!”

The Trump coalition used Islamophobia, anti-Black racism and anti-Semitism, as well as misogyny to promote their demagogic candidate. One outcome of this is increased political and organizing space for emboldened far-right groups. Reports of xenophobic statements and attacks have increased, as have references to the “Rothschild conspiracy” and the role of “bloodline” (i.e. Jewish) bankers in controlling the global economy.

Trump’s inaugural speech proclaimed that his government’s policy will be “America First”, a bellicose decree that the rest of the world should subordinate itself to US corporate and strategic interests, or reap the ruthless consequences which will be quickly dispensed.

Trump’s Cabinet picks revealed for the first time to the public who his closest supporters and backers really were: Rex Tillerson, former Exxon Mobil chair (Secretary of State); Steve Mnuchin, former Goldman Sachs banker and foreclosure king (Treasury); Wilbur Ross, billionaire “king of bankruptcy” (Commerce); Betsy DeVos, millionaire daughter-in-law of the Amway founder and sister of Blackwater founder (Education); Tom Price, millionaire surgeon, opposed to abortion and Obamacare (Health); Ben Carson, wealthy neurosurgeon who compares abortion to slavery and same-sex marriage to pedophilia (Housing and Urban Development); Scott Pruit, climate change denier (Environmental Protection Agency); Rick Perry, former Texas governor and climate change skeptic (Energy); Carl Icahn, multi-billionaire and staunch opponent of regulation (Regulation).

The military also feature large in Trump’s cabinet: Defence Secretary James Mattis, (nicknamed “Mad Dog”) has targeted Iran as “a threat to regional stability, nuclear and otherwise”; CIA Director Mike Pompeo (CIA torturers are “heroes”) opposes closing Guantanamo; Homeland Security Director John F. Kelly, commander of the US Southern Command until 2016; Homeland Security Advisor Thomas Bossert who advocates “full scale occupation” of Syria.

From the white supremacist right are Jeff Sessions, former Alabama Senator and racist with connections to white supremacist organizations like the KKK; and Stephen Bannon, the founder of the alt-right (read fascist) Breitbart News, and Trump’s Strategic Advisor, who also sits on the National Security Council. These are the top performers in Trump’s cabinet and the new leadership of the US government today.

Two of Trump’s picks, Andrew Puzder (Labour); and National Security advisor Michael Flynn, have already been forced to step aside because mass public opposition and pressure forced the Democrats to oppose these and other Trump Cabinet picks. In the case of Puzder, it was because of his scandalous history as a vicious opponent of minimum wage laws and as a thief who regularly cheated his employees of their wages at his several chain restaurants. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was approved by just one vote, because of her long history as an advocate of private education and opponent of public education.

Since taking office, the Trump administration has moved quickly, although meeting considerable resistance from the public, and even from within some sectors of the Republican Party. He has secured control of the judiciary by nominating Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, ensuring that the judiciary continues to be dominated by the Conservative right. The Trump administration has now consolidated power in all three compartments of government: the Executive, the House of Representatives and the Senate, and the judiciary.

On January 27, his seventh day in office, Trump signed an Executive order to ban immigrants and refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries for 90 days and 120 days respectively, a travel ban, and an indefinite ban on refugees from Syria. Confronted with opposition from the Acting Attorney General, he fired her. Confronted with court ordered stays, following challenges from Minnesota and California, Trump issued a new executive order, crafted to get around court rulings but with a similar sweeping impact. More court challenges have come forward in the interim, buoyed by the massive Women’s March of more than 5 million people in the US and around the world, and the on-going protests and resistance in the US and elsewhere.

Trump’s Executive Order was paralleled with widespread deportation sweeps and raids resulting in the detention of thousands of undocumented residents. Police have been seconded to these “deportation forces” which are terrorizing documented and undocumented immigrants, and refugees in the US. This is an escalation of the Obama administration’s policies, which deported a record 2.5 million people from the US. Hate crimes have escalated, including murders, all over the US. Muslims and racialized immigrants are the main targets.

The Executive Order and the Deportation Force sweeps have resulted in hundreds of attempts to cross into Canada by refugees who cannot apply for refugee status in Canada while in the US, because of the Safe Third Country Agreement which prohibits such applications. The Designated Country of Origin List also prohibits refugees from more than 40 countries from seeking refugee status in Canada, making it virtually impossible for many to find safety in the US or escape deportation. Many of these desperate people have tried to cross into Canada through farmers’ fields, braving life-threatening temperatures of -20 and colder, with their young children and babies.

Trump has also moved to limit abortion rights for women, de-funding Planned Parenthood, as the first in a series of acts aimed to roll back equality rights for women, for the LGBTQ community, and others. He has reinstated the Global Gag Rule of the George W. Bush administration, which cut off funding to international NGOs that provide abortion referrals or services.

On foreign policy Trump began work by attacking the Australian Prime Minister and Mexican President, by meeting with the fascist leader of UKIP, Nigel Farage, and then meeting with British PM Theresa May, proposing she name Farage British Ambassador to the US. He followed up with a call to the President of Taiwan, which he was forced to step away from, after diplomatic protests from Beijing regarding his provocative action. Trump has demonized China as the thief of US jobs, exporter of trade deficits, and as a Communist country with significant influence that threatens US interests in the region.   Trump’s decision to send two new warships to the South China Sea in mid-February could be considered acts of war against China and is a reason for serious concern by the peace and progressive forces globally. This is a deliberate provocation.

Trump has also promised to undo the diplomatic progress made by Cuba during the Obama administration, and to roll-back the clock on diplomatic and economic relations generally. This means the illegal blockade will continue, and perhaps tighten, over the next 4 years. Trump has also indicated that the US base at Guantanamo Bay will not be vacated and will continue to be used as a military prison and interrogation (torture) centre. Just 90 miles from Miami, this leaves Cuba in a very difficult and threatened situation, requiring maximum solidarity and support from our Party and the labour and progressive movements going forward.

During Israeli PM Netanyahu’s visit to Washington, Trump reiterated his promise to forge even closer relations with Israel, and endorsed recent decisions by the Israeli government to greatly expand settlements in the occupied territories. Trump also briefly entertained proposals to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, and to abandon support for a Palestinian state, moves that would have defied international law, effectively a declaration of war on the Palestinian people.

Trump has just announced a $54 billion increase in annual US military spending, and has issued a call to dramatically expand the US nuclear weapons arsenal and other “defence” systems. Trump has also demanded that NATO countries ‘pay up’ their NATO obligations, increase their military spending, and prepare to “unite the civilized world against Radical Islamic Terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the Earth… America is totally unstoppable…. we are protected by God.” (Inauguration speech). NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has echoed Trump’s call for members to increase military spending to 2% of GDP. This would add $110 billion to global military spending, and double Canada’s official military spending to $40 billion.

PM Trudeau’s response to this demand, made while in Europe last month, was that the 2% of GDP could be paid to NATO both in cash and by deploying Canadian troops on the front lines of US wars. Germany’s Angela Merkel expressed support for the proposal as it would apply to Germany.

The US-NATO military buildup includes new forms of nuclear weapons development and proliferation, “conventional” militaries with an increasingly mass destructive capacity, and cyber warfare. Imperialist militarism, provocations and aggressions are the main threat to peace in all regions of the world. They have incited a renewed global arms race, maintained an asymmetrical and discriminatory Non-Proliferation Treaty regime, and propelled continued proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The resulting tension and destabilization are then used by imperialist forces as a pretext for increased intervention. In response to missile tests in February by Iran and DPRK, Trump threatened economic and military retaliation. Our Party reiterates its longstanding demand for comprehensive nuclear and general disarmament, beginning with the arsenals of the United States and NATO countries.

Furthermore, the Communist Party condemns the continued efforts by the US, Japan and South Korea to impose regime change in DPRK. It is the sole right of the Korean people to determine the course of their political, economic and social development, free from foreign interference and provocation. We call for the immediate withdrawal of all foreign troops and weapons from the Korean peninsula, the dismantling of all US military bases in the region, and for a peace treaty to formally end the Korean War.

Trump has affirmed his support for the fascist government of Ukraine, and authorized a bombing raid on a Yemeni village which killed 30 civilians including children. This is an indication of the growing US involvement in the war on Yemen.

In Syria, the US policy towards the Assad government has not changed one iota since Trump’s election. Like the Obama administration, Trump is aiming to defeat and/or remove the Assad government and replace it with a new, pro-US administration. The Eva Bartlett tour in January clearly demonstrated the reality of the US role and objectives in Syria. Last week’s report of a UN Commission condemning the Assad government and Russia for war crimes in Aleppo is also part of the set-up for a take-down of the Syrian government by the US and NATO. The decision to give an Oscar to “The White Helmets”, a disinformation and propaganda film that attacks the Syrian government, is the icing on the cake in this continuing war on Syria.

Concerning Iran, which in February conducted a missile test, Trump announced Iran was “on notice”. This is a direct threat of US military intervention, and a reversal of US support for the year-old Iran nuclear agreement involving the US, EU, Britain, France, Germany, China, Russia, which allows for the peaceful use of nuclear energy, but prohibits production of nuclear weapons. We demand the US keep its hands off Iran. We assert that political solutions are the only way forward to prevent the outbreak of a world war in the Middle East.

The Trump administration’s bellicose foreign policy of war and regime change is a continuation of the foreign policy pursued by previous US administrations, both Democrat and Republican. What is new however, is the virtually complete conversion of the US economy, US domestic and foreign policy, into a war machine, able to turn its sights on nations, states and peoples who resist US predations anywhere in the world, or on the working class, trade unions, youth, women, or racialized peoples who resist anywhere inside the US. This is evident in Trump’s economic policy which will strip public services, social programs, and healthcare of $54 billion and transfer it to the military. It’s evident in the funding and the powers vested in the military, the police, and the security state which are terrorizing immigrants, refugees, racialized peoples, Indigenous peoples, women, and the LGBTQi community now, and all who resist.

It’s also evident in the on-going political and psychological campaign to create a new powerful external enemy that threatens the US and that justifies the huge military build- up and preparations for war. This includes the preparations for war on the US working class. The main target is China whose economy continues to grow at a rapid rate while the US economy and the economies of the capitalist countries generally are hovering near recession levels. Further, China is expanding its trade relations with countries around the world, including Canada, while it holds trillions of dollars of US debt. This reflects the decline of US imperialism’s power and influence on a global scale, relative to its position in the 20th century when US imperialism was on the ascendancy. This is not to say that US imperialism is no longer a threat; in fact it is a very great threat to the peace and stability of the world, precisely because its dominant position is being challenged. The Trump election is a reflection of the changed situation, and is the response of those sections of capital which helped propel him to office, reflected in his Cabinet and other appointments. It’s also reflected in the proposals to provide Japan with nuclear weapons, which would target China, DPRK, Vietnam, Laos and others which challenge or resist US domination.

The on-going political and ideological campaign against China focuses on trade, national security, and human rights. It’s a continuation of the decades old campaign directed against the USSR and then Russia, which was fed during the election and after with allegations of Russian interference in the US elections. This hypocritical campaign is a convenient sideshow for the Democrats to explain their election loss, and to attack Trump and the Republicans without attacking their policies of war and reaction; policies which the Democrats largely support. Further, US interference in the elections of other states is well-known, as is their policy of regime change which calls for the overthrow of governments the US government doesn’t like, using the doctrine of ‘responsibility to protect’ (R2P) most recently, and pure anti-communism for decades before that.

The attacks on Russia are an effort to piggy-back the anti-China campaign onto the one hundred years of anti-communism built up against Soviet Russia and the socialist countries. The fact that Russia is now a capitalist country doesn’t change the fact that it is competing with US imperialism for markets and resources, as other capitalist countries are as well. There is also some common cause amongst capitalists in the new Russian ruling class and in US ruling circles around Trump, regarding oil and resource development and the private ownership and exploitation of these and other resources. Also, some of the most racist, homophobic, misogynist and reactionary elements in the US ruling class have sought to cultivate friendly ties with like-minded forces in Russia.  At the same time there should be no illusions that US imperialism is content to co-exist in a peaceful relationship with Russia. Imperialism’s goal is still to partition Russia and the countries of the former USSR, and transform them into new pieces of the US Empire.

The intent is to create a new Cold War which would provide cover for the hot war against Russia and China that some in the US ruling class and the Trump administration are willing to gamble on. It also provides the cover for a new assault on the labour and progressive movements inside the US, and on civil, labour and democratic rights. It’s the cover for the full development of fascism in the US.

Our steps to help activate the broad peace movement, and to help rebuild the Canadian Peace Congress, which is the anti-imperialist current in the peace movement in Canada, have born some fruit, but the urgency of the situation has increased exponentially, and our efforts must likewise increase to build up the strongest and broadest peace movement possible today. This must be a top priority across the country coming out of this meeting. Likewise we must build the friendship and solidarity movement with Cuba which the Republicans will return to before long. And we must strengthen the fight to protect and expand civil, democratic, labour and equality rights. These are urgent tasks.

Quickly delivering for the corporations, Trump announced a huge reduction in the corporate tax rate to 15% from 35%, making the US one of the lowest corporate tax jurisdictions in the world. He also promised deregulation across the board as an enticement for Big Pharma and other conglomerates to increase their investment in the US. A Bill to introduce federal right-to-work legislation is also said to be on the way. This is union-busting legislation that could deliver the knock-out blow to the once powerful, but now very small and weakened AFL-CIO. This is legislation the Ontario and Manitoba Tories tried to introduce in Canada two years ago; and which, like the Muslim ban, will likely wash up into Canada if Trump is successful in the US.

For the banks and financial institutions, Trump has ordered the unraveling of “Dodd-Frank” – the legislation put in place by Obama after the 2008 crisis, to regulate banking and the financial sector, and prevent a similar crisis from recurring. Though it is not nearly as strong as was needed to control the financial monopolies, Dodd-Frank is now the international regulatory standard for banking and financial institutions around the globe. Trump’s announcement has thus caused alarm in government offices, and elation in corporate board rooms, on a global scale. Global banking is about to revert to pre-2008 rules and norms. This means as the Globe and Mail cartoonist put it “Letting loose the wolves of Wall Street.” It also means recreating the conditions for another devastating financial crisis sooner, rather than later.

For the oil companies, Trump has given the green light to the Keystone XL pipeline, inviting TransCanada to apply for a permit to build, in the process trampling the rights and objections of the Standing Rock Sioux and other indigenous peoples, and the public interest of the environmental movement which also strongly oppose the pipeline. He has pulled the US out of global climate change agreements, in the process increasing greenhouse gas emissions from the US for at least the next four years, at a time when every moment and every action or inaction counts in the struggle against climate change. Big climate change protests and a march on Washington are being organized now for later in the year.

Trump has ferociously attacked Mexico on both trade and immigration, resulting in Mexico’s threat to unilaterally withdrawal from NAFTA in January, and its cancellation of a bi-lateral meeting with the US President in February. Unfazed, Trump met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in mid-February, announcing that renegotiation of NAFTA was still a key US demand, but that the target was Mexico. Trade with Canada should be “tweaked” he said.

But this continental trade arrangement applies to trade, production, and the free movement of goods and services, workers, and capital, across the continent. A division of labour exists, put in place to facilitate corporate profit-making by transnational corporations, that involves a whole web of interdependent interconnections at every level of production and every level of government. Mexico’s withdrawal or exclusion means the web will be torn, affecting all three countries, and transnational corporate interests (and profits) across the continent. That is why the leaders of 100 corporations have publicly expressed strong opposition to Trump’s plans to tamper with NAFTA. This threatens profits.

Trump’s promise to “tweak” trade with Canada under NAFTA is unbelievable and falls into the realm of “alternative facts”. It’s also not possible. As has been pointed out in the press and media, the North American economy is so integrated that in the auto industry for example, an automobile and its parts can cross the border up to 14 times in the course of building one vehicle. And while it doesn’t have to be that way, it is that way thanks to NAFTA.

Manufacturing, technology and food production are just some of the industries that rely on porous borders and easy cross-border access, and that do not support the protectionist, isolationist positions of the Trump administration expressed in the slogan America First! which interfere with their businesses and profits. These are the sections of Wall Street much more likely to have supported Clinton and the Democrats who support free trade and the free movement of capital across borders around the world.

The question for Canada is not whether we can live with Trump’s tweaks – though these won’t be tweaks: they’ll be our softwood lumber industry, our supply management system in agriculture, our auto assembly and parts industries, and our Medicare system to name just a few things on the US ‘tweak’ list. But the real question for Canadians, and for labour and working people is whether we can live with NAFTA: the continental corporate constitution that has cost Canada 500,000 manufacturing jobs and whole sectors of manufacturing including the appliance and furniture industries, agricultural implements, garment and footwear, the domestic steel industry, ship-building, among others. NAFTA has deeply eroded Canada’s sovereignty and independence, and greatly strengthened the grip of US imperialism on our foreign and domestic policies, and the corporate grip over our energy, natural resources, environment, as well as our civil, social, labour, equality, national and democratic rights. These are the reasons the labour and democratic movements opposed NAFTA in the first place, and the reason they should oppose NAFTA now.

Trudeau and other free trade advocates are trying to bamboozle Canadians into believing that the only options are free trade or protectionism. But those are just the capitalist options. The real choice is capitalist globalization (free trade) where the big dogs eat and the small dogs get eaten, or mutually beneficial multi-lateral trade where all countries benefit. Mercosur was an example of the latter, before the popular governments which created it were overthrown.

Instead of trying to seduce the misogynist Trump with promises to showcase Ivanka Trump’s entrepreneurial skills at a cross border conference of business women, the PM should announce Canada’s withdrawal from NAFTA, and negotiate new trade arrangements based on a policy of mutually beneficial, multi-lateral trade with all countries, that includes long-term credits to the developing countries.

This also opens up new possibilities for developing an environmentally sustainable industrial strategy for Canada, including a Canadian steel industry, and an energy policy based on public ownership and democratic control of energy resources and development of new sustainable energy such as solar, wind, thermal, and others still in development.

We need value-add manufacturing and secondary industry. It should include development of a publicly owned and controlled Canadian transportation industry with urban and inter-urban rapid transit and light rail transit. It should include development and production of a Canadian car that is small, fuel-efficient, environmentally sustainable, and affordable. The only guarantee of Canadian jobs is a Canadian auto industry, that’s part and parcel of a larger publicly-owned transportation system. The aerospace industry into which the Canadian government has poured so much public money ($4.1 billion) over many years, should be part of this publicly owned and democratically controlled transportation system, and developed in the interests of Canada.

A massive program to build affordable social housing across Canada at affordable rents and prices would eliminate the bubble in housing prices, increase housing stock across the country and alleviate the huge numbers of people who are under-housed or homeless. Housing is a universal human right, and should be treated as a public utility – universally accessible and affordable. A massive housing program would also create hundreds of thousands of jobs in construction and in manufacturing and services – the 7 fold spin-off jobs. This creation of real wealth – not the speculative wealth of the coupon clippers – would provide the funds needed to expand social programs and public services, Medicare, a universal public childcare system and much more.

This is the recipe for economic recovery and rising wages and living standards in Canada. But it requires the political will to implement it, and to sharply curb the power of the monopolies and the corporations that will oppose it. It also requires that the working class and its allies fight for these policies and for the political leadership of the left and the Communists party that can lead that fight.

Instead of capitalist globalization, we fight for peace, jobs, sovereignty, equality, democracy, and for socialism.

Letting Loose the Wolves of Wall Street

Developments in the US are of deep concern in Canada, and globally. “Letting loose the wolves of Wall Street” had global consequences in 2008, and it will have global consequences now as well. What we are seeing is capitalism developing into its most dangerous predatory form, which Georgi Dmitrov described as the open, terrorist dictatorship of the most reactionary , most chauvinist, and most imperial elements of finance capital.

Our job, and the job of the labour and people’s movements is to make sure that drive towards fascism is derailed before it gathers any more steam.

At our last meeting in October, we observed that the Trump campaign was a measure of the support for fascism in the US. The election results suggest that the level of support is considerable, and that the previously unseen forces backing Trump are indeed the forces willing and able to deliver it, as the needs of the capitalist system in the US and elsewhere dictate. As we have seen in the public response to Trump’s America First policies, there is no consensus in the ruling circles around his trade and immigration policies, though there is certainly support for corporate tax cuts, deregulation, privatization and infrastructure spending, as shown in the Wall Street stock market rallies early this year. This is so because of the huge transfers of wealth from the working class to the ruling class that will be made, even though deregulation and tax cuts will make the US and the whole capitalist world much more vulnerable to further structural crises, especially in the banking and financial sectors, and will in fact hurry the next crisis. Recovery will be increasingly difficult with each new crisis because of the current levels of unemployment and impoverishment of large sections of the US working class which is always required to pay for capitalist crises. The current drive to war and to militarism through NATO and now NORAD as well, have a dual function of solving capitalism’s problems of economic crisis as necessary, as well as strengthening the repressive role of the state – police, prisons, courts – at home.

How things will further develop in the US depends in part on the continuing and accelerating resistance of the labour and people’s movements to the Trump administration, and on deepening the divisions in the ruling class itself.

What are the conditions that make this drive to the far right possible now? A deep economic crisis that has gripped the entire capitalist world, from which the capitalists are unable to extract themselves, short of war. Permanent mass unemployment that has created a mass underclass of millions of people who have nothing and no hope of ever changing their situation or their conditions in life. This is particularly acute in the US, where social security has been much more deeply eroded than in Canada. A wide-spread and deep distrust, anger and revulsion at bourgeois politicians, political parties and institutions, including governments and corporations, banks, trusts, and financial elites who are regarded as corrupt, deceitful, self-serving, and vile. A widespread desire to overthrow the whole corrupt edifice, and an attraction to the idea of a wholesale changeover, of a revolution (which is what Trump promised the disaffected in the US.)

Add to this an unprecedented mass migration of people, fleeting imperialist war and aggression in their own countries, seeking refuge in countries whose populations harbor deep racial and religious prejudices which are deliberately stoked to create fear and division, and violence.

Add to this the violent political and ideological response aimed to halt the developing shift in the mass consciousness of working people who, angered and critical of capitalism, are also increasingly drawn to anti-capitalist, working class, and to socialist ideas and movements. In the US, the socialist ideas presented to the public were the ideas and politics of self-proclaimed socialist Bernie Sanders, which neither of the old-line parties could tolerate, but which attracted wide public support in the US and internationally. Even though they weren’t the scientific socialism that the Communist Parties espouse, they were ideas and policies that worried ruling circles in both parties, lest they gain more support and sink new roots in public consciousness. That’s the real reason why the Democratic Party sabotaged the Sanders campaign.

These are the same conditions that are developing in Europe and which have contributed to the growth of fascist movements and parties in both western and eastern Europe. These include PEGIDA (“Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West”) in Germany and Soldiers of Odin in Finland. The government of Ukraine is fascist, and in Greece, Golden Dawn is the third largest party in Parliament, with a mass base in the country. In Austria, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Italy, Holland, and France, fascist parties all have Members of Parliament, some with large groupings. This spring in France, elections for the President show National Front leader Marine Le Pen running neck and neck with a conservative candidate, far ahead of the Socialist party candidate. This is a consequence of the right-turn taken by social democratic parties in Europe (and elsewhere) over the last 20 years. Combined with the crisis in the Communist movement caused by the overthrow of the USSR and the socialist states in Eastern Europe, the weakness of the left and revolutionary forces left a wide space for far right politics and ideology, and state sponsored attacks on socialism to take root. Important elections in Germany will also determine whether the country shifts sharply to the right, or stays the course with Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Christian Democratic Union.

Two decades of austerity have created the economic and social conditions in Europe for these racist, xenophobic, misogynist, and anti-working class ideas to gain ground.

In Canada too, the Trump campaign and election have provided rich soil for the racists, xenophobes, misogynists, and fascists in Canada to show themselves and to grow. The long history of racism in Canada, beginning with the genocide of indigenous people that started with the arrival of Europeans and has continued through the residential schools, the Sixties Scoop and the Missing and Murdered Women; the Komagata Maru incident where hundreds of South Asians were refused entry into the Port of Vancouver and were turned back to cross the Pacific with little water and few supplies; the Chinese head tax that prevented Chinese labourers from bringing their families to Canada; the Japanese internment in Canadian concentration camps in WW II; the laws preventing Jews and Blacks from using public beaches or staying in certain hotels or restaurants; the bulldozing of Africville in Nova Scotia; this is the racism built into the fabric of Canada, evident in policing, in schools and education, in healthcare, housing and services, in religious institutions, in employment, in all facets of life, for generations.

The hatred of Muslims and immigrants that permeated the Trump campaign directly contributed to the Quebec killings of 6 men and attempted murder of 5 more at prayer in a St. Foy mosque. The killer was an admirer of Marine Le Pen and Donald Trump.   But he was also encouraged by Conservative leadership candidate Kellie Leitch who advocates extreme vetting of immigrants for “Canadian values”, and who introduced the Barbaric Cultural Practices Act when she was a Cabinet Minister in the Harper government. In fact it was during the Harper government’s decade in office that the doors to racism and Islamophobia opened wide.

Leitch’s latest reach to the right led her straight to Ezra Levant’s Rebel Media and its “Freedom Rally” February 15, with right-wing evangelist Charles McVety and three other Tory leadership candidates, to attack M-103, a private members motion put by Liberal MP Iqra Khalid, calling on Parliament to set up a study of systemic racism, and religious discrimination including Islamophobia with the aim of reducing growing attacks on Muslims in Canada. Leitch lied when she told the “Freedom Rally” that the motion was a Bill to enact Shariah law in Canada and to limit free speech, impinging on the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. So did the other speakers, including Tory leadership candidates Chris Alexander, Pierre Lemieux and Brad Trost. Leitch’s intent was to rev up the crowd with fear-mongering and hate speech, and to stake her credentials as the most right-wing candidate in the race for the Tory leadership.

In Quebec, since the crisis of reasonable accommodations more than a decade ago, several chauvinist forces have worked relentlessly to fuel fear-mongering and hate, including Mario Dumont’s ADQ, which merged with the François Legault’s movement to create the CAQ in 2011, the PQ with its Charter of Quebec Values in 2013, and the Bloc Québécois during the last federal election. Acts of violence and threats against Muslims and immigrants have also increased two-fold in the last two years, prompting MP Iqra Khalid’s motion first tabled in December.

In Quebec a fascist group called La Meute, with a military leadership, claims to have membership of 43,000, who are united by their hatred of immigrants and Muslims. This is a startling revelation.

In Toronto, the fascist newspaper “Your Ward News”, which Canada Post finally stopped delivering after public protests by labour and community groups and a directive from the PMO, has ramped up its run and distribution area which now includes most of Toronto and some neighboring cities, paid for by unknown sources. The publication is openly fascist, targeting Communists, Jews, immigrants, LGBTQ, women, minorities, and glorifies Nazis in WW II photos and commentary. Liberal Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne is a favourite target because she is gay, and the NDP are also targets because of their efforts to stop distribution of this hate rag by Canada Post. Despite continuing protests and appeals to police and government to act, Canada’s hate laws never seem to apply. Clearly, these people are tolerated by the state which continues to allow them to publish their hate-speech and attacks which include book burnings in the parking lot behind their Toronto store-front.

We call on federal and provincial governments to enforce hate speech laws, and to enact them where they don’t exist, and strengthen them where they are weak. The argument that hate speech cannot or should not be banned because it interferes or threatens free speech does not stand up under close examination. In fact, hate speech is not a right; it is an infringement on the right to free speech, and a threat to the Charter protected right to free speech. Banning hate speech, which includes or implies the threat of violence, or the advocacy of collective punishment, against a religious, ethic, or identifiable social or national group, is therefore a logical, reasonable and appropriate consequence. We also call for the banning of organized hate groups such as the KKK which are responsible for cross burnings, bombings, beatings, and murders in Canada and the US.

With all that we have said here, the struggle against fascism and reaction in Canada is a fight to prevent it and to defeat its purveyors and fomenters from succeeding.

Canada has had several bouts with fascist movements in the past, including in 1931 with Section 98 and the arrest and imprisonment of Tim Buck and 7 other Communist leaders; in Quebec in 1937 with the infamous Padlock Law that outlawed renting a hall to the Communists; in the lead up to the Second World War with the battle in Christie Pitts in Toronto in August 1933, with Adrien Arcand’s Parti National Social Chrétien which started in Quebec in 1934, but later merged with fascist groups in Ontario and Quebec to form the Canadian National Socialist Unity Party. The KKK has existed and organized in Canada since the 1930s, at one time with considerable support in Alberta and eastern Ontario. It is still active and responsible for cross burnings in southern Ontario. The imprisonment of the eight Communist leaders by R.B. Bennett, the internment of the Japanese Canadian population during WWII, and the Padlock Law in Quebec, were all actions that opened the door to fascism in Canada but were fought and defeated. The Heritage Front was an active fascist organization in the 1980s, with a bunker on College Street in Toronto. Various unnamed fascist organizations set off bombs and fires at our offices in Toronto, and attacked progressive organizations and unions as well. In every case, the progressive and democratic forces, labour, and the Communist party, led a fight against these reactionary and fascist forces and won. And that is what we must do now as well.

Exposing these racist, xenophobic, misogynist and fascist forces for what they are – the shock troops of the most violent and reactionary sections of capital – and for the danger of fascism that they pose to the working class and to all but the corporations and the very wealthy, is our job. Uniting the progressive forces, the labour and democratic movements, the people’s organizations, youth, academics, anti-fascists, anti-racists, to actively oppose and defeat these groups and these ideas, is our job.

While fascism’s main attack is directed at the working class, every sector and strata is affected, including middle strata, farmers, small businesses, etc. Every sector has an objective interest in defeating the extreme right, and so the basis of unity against the extreme right is objectively very broad. We aim to build broad coalitions and movements against the extreme right, fascist organizations and movements, and the drive to war. The political demands must reflect this breadth as well. Our demands are aimed to protect and expand democracy which is threatened by the extreme right. And so our focus is to oppose hate speech and agitation; to oppose acts of hatred against identifiable groups – such as Muslims and Jews; to demand protection and expansion of civil and democratic rights and human rights; and to oppose the security state laws and Bill C-51 which allows for mass arrests and detentions on suspicion of future crimes. We demand that the government act to protect those targeted and attacked, and to prosecute the attackers enforcing existing hate laws, and enacting new laws where needed. We mobilize mass solidarity and support to those under attack, and lead the fight to roll-back those attacks, using all tools at our disposal including protests, demonstrations, public meetings on the issues, letters to the Editor, social media, post-cards, resolutions, and post-card campaigns directed to members of Parliament, Legislators, City Councils and School Boards. We call on Parliament now to unanimously support Motion 103, to oppose and condemn systemic racism, religious discrimination, and Islamophobia. We work to build movements and coalitions to counter the actions and ideas of the extreme right, and to fight for the expansion of democracy and oppose restrictions and limitations, and elimination of democratic rights and freedoms.

The mobilization of the broadest sections of the people aims to bring as many people as possible into visible public actions in the streets and communities. We oppose all efforts to narrow down this struggle with sectarian demands or to hijack the mass action of the thousands and hundreds of thousands with the self-styled militancy of the anarchist and ultra-left few. It is the masses who make history.

Having said that, it is the job of Communists to expose the roots of capitalist crisis which are also the roots of fascism, and to offer up the alternative of socialism and working class power. But we do this to help working people understand the nature of the beast we are fighting, the great danger it poses to the working class and working people, and to elucidate the alternative to capitalism and fascism, which is socialism. Part of the allure of the far right is their promise to deliver fundamental change such as full employment, good jobs, higher wages and living standards, affordable housing, elimination of debt – things that bourgeois democratic governments are unable or unwilling to deliver. In due course, the truth that the far right will not deliver them either, comes to light, but long after great and savage damage has been done.

But our alternative of socialism can deliver fundamental change, and is based on systemic and revolutionary change. Advocating for an alternative system, an alternative policy, is essential, because it illuminates an alternative path of development for Canada, other than capitalism; without making that path a condition of unity in the resistance to the extreme right and fascist movements. Our immediate platform for a People’s Coalition, includes creating good jobs and full employment, for rising wages, pensions and living standards, for strong universal social programs and a strong social safety net, for peace and disarmament, for mutually beneficial multi-lateral trade policies, for a new equal and voluntary partnership of indigenous peoples, Quebec, and English-speaking Canada, based on the right of national self-determination up to and including secession. These are the policies that can take Canada out of the current crisis, and open to the door to fundamental change and to socialism.

We must step up our efforts to build left and left-centre unity in the labour movement, and to create the conditions to build a People’s Coalition. We need to build the peace movement, and the mass movements, and work to bring the people into mass action and into the streets in defence of their rights and in support of demands to improve wages and living standards, for a People’s Agenda. We need to build the Communist Party, our press, and the YCL, to increase our activity, expand our capacity, increase our mass and independent work, develop our cadre, and reach many more working people and youth with our message that there is another way out of the crisis: a working class alternative; a people’s alternative.

Our activity now – our independent activity, and our mass activity in the labour and peoples’ movements – can make a material difference in what the future will look like in five years, in ten years, next year. This is our job.

Political Developments in Canada

The election of Trump and the subsequent flurry of activity have helped PM Trudeau and the Liberals through an increasingly unpopular winter of discontent in Canada. Polls show the Liberals losing support as one by one, the government’s election promises vaporize. Starting with the promises to Indigenous peoples to launch the Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women, avoiding delays and facilitating its work; to establish a nation to nation relationship between the federal government and Indigenous nations, and not to approve pipelines without prior approval of indigenous nations; to adequately fund Indigenous education, healthcare, mental health, housing, and clean water on reserves; none of this has been delivered. Trudeau’s approval of the Kinder Morgan Pipeline in November, and the resurrection of the Keystone XL pipeline by President Trump in January have generated furious opposition from environmentalists as well as Indigenous peoples and their supporters from both the US and Canada.

Just before the December holidays the government convened provincial health ministers to offer them a take-it-or-leave-it deal that would cut $30 billion from federal healthcare transfers over the next ten years. By adding $11 million, a small amount – specifically for mental healthcare and long-term care – the government tried to convince Canadians that slashing $30 billion from healthcare was a good idea. Originally united against the massive cut, the provinces have pulled apart with the Atlantic provinces, the Territories, Saskatchewan and BC settling for the original offer with some small tweaks and top-ups. The biggest provinces, Ontario and Quebec have not settled, nor Alberta and Manitoba; however, the provinces’ united front to secure a new and better financed federal health accord has broken apart, and the goal of a new federal health accord is lost.

The Saskatchewan settlement poses another imminent threat to Medicare in Canada because the federal government has chosen not to demand that the Wall government end its practice of allowing private pay healthcare to clear the backlog of people on the wait list for MRIs in the public healthcare system. The Wall government – a right-wing Tory government – is flouting the Canada Health Act and the single payer public system with impunity. The federal Liberals are willing to do this because they want the $10 billion cut from their transfers over 10 years, to be used for infrastructure spending, and to reduce the deficit, before the 2019 election campaign. No wonder that the public is cynical.

In Ontario, the Ontario Medical Association, representing family doctors and specialists in the province, has demanded big increases to doctors’ fees for service, and is threatening strike action if the provincial Liberals don’t cough up. Behind this campaign are greedy, right-wing doctors who support healthcare privatization, and Conservative Party operatives working to defeat the Wynne Liberals in next year’s provincial elections. The take-over of the OMA by this group included a wholesale clear-out of the previous OMA leadership, most of whom were also Tories and Liberals, but not of the ‘radical right’ persuasion.

Medicare is also under threat from the upcoming NAFTA negations, and from the Charter challenge launched by Dr. Brian Day and Cambie Surgery, demanding an end to the single payer system and allowing private healthcare corporations to compete with the publicly financed Medicare system. The court case is still underway, packed with witnesses advocating for private billing and two-tier healthcare, but the outcome will be a landmark either for, or against, universal healthcare in Canada, when a decision is rendered sometime later this year or early next year. This is also a proposal from the Ontario Chamber of Commerce to the Ontario government, to ‘ease’ pressure on the public system.

Trudeau’s latest fall from grace is the decision to scrap the electoral reform that he promised would come before the next federal election, when he was campaigning in 2015. The assertion that Canadians just aren’t interested in electoral reform is so blatantly untrue that public reaction was quick and nasty and included Canada-wide protests. These were undoubtedly also spurred by the Liberals’ cash-for-access scandal, also permitted by the current election laws.

The Liberals also promised to restore door to door delivery at Canada Post. The parliamentary report on Canada Post indicates the government will restore service to some of the approximately 830,000 homes that have been forced to use community mailboxes, but not all. Furthermore, the report rejects CUPW’s proposals to adopt postal banking as a service and a means to increase revenue for the post office. This is another broken promise, and quite possibly another target for privatization.

NAFTA negotiations, which are still ahead, and which even Brian Mulroney has advised will be very tough for Canada, are all about bread and butter for millions of Canadians. So is the government’s economic plan, about which we will hear more in the spring budget. The promise of good jobs and infrastructure investments across the country have been exposed – not as a cross-Canada building plan – but as a coast to coast privatization plan, in which public-private partnerships (P-3s) stand to bilk billions out the public purse and into corporate coffers. The plan may also include privatization of existing public assets, as has happened in Ontario. The sale of Ontario Hydro, euphemistically described by Premier Wynne as “unlocking and recycling a public asset” is the largest privatization of a public asset in Canadian history, a huge giveaway to the corporations purchasing it, and has caused huge increases in hydro fees to all customers, and especially residential customers.

The government’s Economic Advisory Committee, chaired by Domenic Barton, managing director of McKinsey, a global consulting firm, is recommending privatization, more free trade, deregulation, foreign investment, and changes to the labour market and the CPP that would raise the pension age to 67 – measures the previous government was defeated over.

The outcome of the NAFTA negotiations and the failure to deliver on many of their election promises, will all have a significant impact on the next election slated for 2019.

A recent Nanos poll showed 75% of Canadians want Trudeau to stand up to Trump on a range of issues including trade, immigration, progressive values, and NATO. Meanwhile, a December Forum poll shows Liberal support has fallen to 42%, while support for the Tories has risen to 34%. Not so far apart just two years short of a general election. The NDP on the other hand – the party pegged to win the last election – is stuck far behind at just 12%, while the Greens have risen to 6%, and the BQ is at 5%. This is a quick snapshot of the crisis of social democracy and the crisis of bourgeois politics in polling numbers.

Another more telling poll is the international Edelman Trust Barometer, which for the first time has put Canada on the “distruster” list, that is the list of countries whose governments and institutions do not have the confidence of their citizens, according to polling results. More specifically, the polling results show the trust gap in Canada has doubled in the last year and is nearly at the same level as in the US, Britain and France. Trust in government and the news media have declined dramatically to 45% and 43% respectively, while trust in business has declined to 50% from 56%. More than half (55%) say the system isn’t working for them, and 50% say immigration is damaging the economy and national culture. 80% think the “elites” who run major institution are out of touch with regular people, and 60% don’t trust them to address the challenges facing the country.

A Pollara poll, taken at the same time, showed that 57% of Canadians believe Canada is in recession. While not technically correct, it’s an accurate reflection of rapidly declining purchasing power and living standards, and the good jobs that are still disappearing with plant closures and lay-offs, and the precarious jobs and contract work that is the norm for a sizable proportion of the workforce, and for almost all young people. This is the relative and absolute impoverishment of the working class.

While apologists for capitalism cite automation as the main reason, the truth is that automation is an important part of the story, but not the whole story. The main reason is the increasing concentration and centralization of capital in the hands of fewer and fewer monopolies, the vast increase in corporate super-profits, in prices, in layoffs and plant closures, and in the exploitation of workers through declining real wages, cuts to benefits and pensions, and a continuing decline in union density in the private sector. Automation fits within this framework, enabling workers to create enormous new wealth which is appropriated almost exclusively by the employers. In this way the scientific and technological revolution has benefited the employers and been used against the working class. Mass permanent unemployment is a big part of what has fueled the right-wing “revolution” in the US, in Europe, and now in Canada as well. This is what the Tories and the far right are feeding on.

Economic projections for the Canadian economy in 2017 are mixed. The rise in oil prices has helped the Alberta oil industry, but unemployment is still over 8%. The low Canadian dollar was expected to increase exports and offset low oil prices, but it didn’t materialize, and factory output and manufacturing output has declined, resulting in very weak growth in the GDP. Trump’s America First policy, including border taxes and tariffs on automobiles and other manufactured goods, as well as pressure to further lower corporate taxes in Canada, and for more deregulation, are a serious threat to the Canadian economy. Changes to global banking regulations will also threaten Canada, which is already suffering the effects of housing bubbles in Toronto, Vancouver, and elsewhere in the country. Increases in the price of housing, which in Toronto has surpassed 24% per year, are not sustainable, and could become the trigger in a new economic crisis.

The Tories, as we have mentioned, are positioning themselves on the far right of the Liberals, though their tight embrace of Trump means their fortunes will also be tied to the mercurial US President and his posse of bankers, billionaires, and oilmen.

The Bloc Quebecois has also tied itself to the rising right-wing movements, and remains without a leader, without Party status, and with only ten members of Parliament. A leadership election to replace former leader Gilles Duceppe will be held in April.

The NDP is also waiting for its fall convention to elect a new leader and determine whether it will alter its political direction. Its fall to third party status is a direct reflection of its rightward shift during the leadership of Jack Layton and current leader Thomas Mulcair. Unless the left-wing of the party is able to change the direction, the NDP is unlikely to pose a serious challenge to either the Liberals or the Tories in the next election. In the interim, the NDP’s support for NAFTA renegotiations, for NATO and NORAD, and for balanced budgets, will not endear it to Canadians, nor help to mount the fight needed to defeat the corporate agenda, and secure the policies Canadians voted for in the 2015 election campaign.

The Green Party, like the NDP, has been outspoken on the issues of Islamophobia and hate, and on environmental and indigenous concerns around the pipelines, but Green leader Elizabeth May is still opposed to BDS as it applies to the Palestinian cause.

Alberta has the only NDP government left in Canada, the result of a serious split on the right between Wild Rose and the Conservatives. With the next provincial election due in May 2019, the unite the right forces are working overtime to prevent the re-election of the NDP and Premier Rachel Notley, attacking the most progressive parts of the NDP policies, as well as ferociously attacking Rachel Notley as a woman, including with threats of rape and murder. This is the real face of the fundamentalist, far-right in Canada. We again call on the federal and provincial governments and police forces to enforce the hate laws and take legal action against the organizations promoting these attacks on the premier and on all women in Canada.

Premier Notley and the Alberta NDP government are efficient protectors of Alberta’s oil industry, and advocates for east, west and southern pipelines recently approved by Trudeau, Trump and BC Premier Christy Clark’s Liberal government. To keep both the Wild Rose and the Conservatives out of government, it will be necessary to deepen divisions on the right while pressing the NDP to take more progressive positions, through extra-parliamentary action. This is the way forward now, while we also work to build up the left and labour forces in the province. We must also work hard to build our Party, our press, and the YCL as well.

In BC, an election will be held May 9, and the polls show the Liberals and NDP tied at 37%, with the Greens at 17%. A key issue is the Kinder Morgan Pipeline, which puts the BC NDP at odds with the NDP government in Alberta. After 16 years of Liberal government, this will be a very important election for the working people of BC. Our Comrades have put six candidates into the field, including Comrades Kimball Cariou, George Gidora, Peter Marcus, Tyson Strandlund, Peter Kerek and Beat Klossner. We wish these fighting candidates every success in their campaigns to defeat the Liberals and win policies that put people’s needs ahead of corporate greed !

As we meet this weekend, the extra-parliamentary struggle is the main one we will focus on for the next two years. The results of this struggle will set the stage for the 2019 federal election.   For working people to secure advances in that election, we have to secure real advances in the labour and people’s struggles against war and reaction in the next 24 months.

The Fightback

The Women’s March was the largest demonstration since 2003, held in cities large and small across Canada, in sync with marches across the US and around the world. It was a huge outpouring of anger and defiance at Trump and his supporters, at his election, and at the misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia, racism and reaction so celebrated in his campaign, and so evident in his first days in office. Many women who protested that day had never protested before, but the election of Trump to the White House had crossed a line that compelled hundreds of thousands of Canadian women (and 5 million women world-wide) to spontaneously take to the streets with home-made signs with their children in tow, and many men walking with them in unity and solidarity. It was a remarkable demonstration of the unity, militancy, and power of women in action.

For Communists and progressives it underlined the importance and the urgency of rebuilding the powerful women’s movement that led many of the big mass struggles for democratic and equality rights of the 1970s, 80s and 90s. Now we must rebuild in the new conditions of the 21st century, and struggle to defend and extend rights in the face of a very dangerous right-wing assault.

In this regard, it more than timely that the Women’s Commission established in October should take the lead in this work to build the women’s movement, and to build the Communist presence in this movement, with all of our energy and initiative. As clear as day, women are ready and willing to fight for their rights, and against racism, misogyny, Islamophobia, and trans- and homophobia. What’s needed is organization, a basis of unity and leadership. The door is open; women are on the move. The time for mass action to defend and expand women’s equality rights is now.

Next weekend March 8th celebrations will take place in cities across Canada, including demonstrations in some places. Let there be big Communist Party contingents at these events with our press and our IWD leaflets for mass distribution. The women’s movement in Canada need to know that they have the unqualified support of the Communist Party in their struggle for women’s equality, for gender equality, for racial equality, and for freedom from discrimination and exploitation.

The outpouring of support and solidarity with Muslims threatened by the murders by a white supremacist in Quebec, and by other acts of hate across the country, have resulted in spontaneous actions such as the encircling of mosques in Toronto in a gesture of support and defence against Islamophobic attacks. Many people who have not participated in public protests in the past, have been moved to act in the wake of these attacks on Muslims and other racialized, religious, and immigrant communities.

In November, the Canadian Federation of Students organized the first Canada-wide day of protest against sky-rocketing tuition fees and for accessible education and free tuition, that it has held for a number of years. This redirect towards mass action is very welcome and certainly needed as young people are more and more the victims of high unemployment, low wages, and crushing debt caused by high tuition.

The role of the YCL and Party Clubs on campuses across the country is very important to strengthen and coordinate in the months ahead. The Quebec student strike of 2012 and the role of the Party and YCL there, show how important this work is to mobilize and unite youth with the broader struggle and vice versa.

Following the pipeline approvals and the approval of the Site C dam in BC, Indigenous leaders representing 50 nations in western Canada and the US came together to declare their militant opposition and their determination to continue to struggle against the pipelines and other development projects that infringe on Aboriginal lands and land claims, and that do damage to the environment. Many of these nations have actively supported the struggle at Standing Rock, where police and military have been called in to end the protests. We support the struggle of the Standing Rock Sioux, and express our support and solidarity to them, from our Plenum this week in Toronto.

In February teachers and educational workers in Nova Scotia organized a one day strike, bringing thousands of teachers to the legislature in Halifax, to protest the provincial government’s imposition of a 4 year collective agreement that had been rejected three times by teachers, and imposing a back to work order. At issue in the contract dispute were working conditions, including class size and staffing, supports for special needs students including educational assistants, funds for classroom expenses and for facilities for students. The union said they raised these contract demands ibecause the provincial government had never delivered on its promises made to the public. Forced back to work, the teachers are angry.

Also in Nova Scotia, the strike of the Chronicle Herald workers marked its one year anniversary January 17th, in the bitter cold of a Maritime winter. At issue are the concessions and the cuts that the employer is demanding, and which the 61 union members are refusing to accept. The union is publishing its own newspaper addressed to the community, highlighting the importance of accurate news and information in the era of “fake news” and corporate news. The strike has the support of the whole labour movement in NS, and of the Halifax and Red Lobster clubs whose members have been on the picket lines with our press.

In Newfoundland the fight against the provincial government’s 2016 austerity budget continues, along with the fight against the Muskrat Falls dam project in Labrador which will poison the downstream lake with methyl mercury.

In BC, the fight against the Liberal government’s austerity policies, pipelines and fracking, and the dismissal of the Vancouver School Board, have helped set the stage for the May 9 election and the hoped-for defeat of the Liberal government. But as the last election demonstrated, opposition to the Liberals and their right-wing policies won’t be enough to change political direction. What’s needed – and what the public is looking for – are alternative policies that will reverse the terrible damage done by 16 years of a right-wing Liberal government. The Communist candidates will fight for just such policies, but the labour and democratic movements will need to engage in this election to bring policy alternatives to the fore. This is a time when working people are searching for real alternatives, and real change.

In Quebec, after a serious slowdown in 2005 following the Charest Liberal government’s decrees imposing working conditions on public sector employees, the strike movement regained some vigor. This was related in part to the fact that collective agreements are increasingly of a duration of at least five years. For example, in 2013, almost 180,000 workers went on strike, almost exclusively in the private sector, a record compared with the previous ten years, and even exceeding by 56% the number of strikes in 2005 which included a strike of the Common Front in the public sector. This reflects both the willingness of the workers to end the cycle of setbacks imposed by neo-liberal austerity policies and the harshness of the bourgeoisie’s attacks, particularly with regard to wages and pension funds.

In June 2014, the Couillard Liberals launched a major attack on the pension plans of municipal employees, and even considered giving municipalities the power to unilaterally determine their employees’ working conditions. There followed a major mobilization in the form of demonstrations and court challenges, etc. The idea of a general political strike spread more and more.

In the spring of 2015, the student movement tried to accelerate the movement of a general political strike on the basis of its demands. But with the exception of a few dozen teachers’ unions that went on strike May 1, 2015, the student movement remained isolated because it had not coordinated with the Public Sector Common Front who were not ready or legally able to strike at that moment. The government brutally repressed the student movement, which was seriously damaged and unable to mobilize when the right moment arrived in the fall when the Common Front could legally act.

By the end of 2015, the Common Front of the Public Sector, involving nearly half a million strikers, was stopped by an agreement reached in principle between the government and the leaders of the trade union centrals. In the absence of an agreement, the government was threatening to pass a special law, but it had to withdraw its demands for major concessions in working conditions, although it had succeeded in preventing the wage increases which were the main demand of the workers. The general assemblies of the 100,000 health workers affiliated with the CSN rejected the agreement in March 2016.

On May 27, 2016, the Union representing 279 employees of the Old Port of Montreal (a tourism site under federal jurisdiction) which include ticketing, parking and maintenance attendants, and security guards, affiliated to the FTQ (QFL), triggered an unlimited strike. The main demand was a minimum wage of $ 15/hour.

The strike lasted five months. From the outset, the strikers faced an injunction preventing them from demonstrating or entering the site of the Old Port of Montreal. The employer also used strikebreakers. Nevertheless, the strikers remained united and mobilized, and actively supported the picket lines of strikers in private homes for the elderly, who also went out on an unlimited general strike at the end of June 2016 to demand a minimum wage at $15 per hour. The strikers demonstrated in front of Parliament in Ottawa, and they heckled Prime Minister Trudeau in a meeting of young trade unionists organized by the CLC on October 25, 2016. They won a general increase of 12% over 5 years and raised the minimum wage at the Old Port from $ 10.67 to $ 12.38.

Québec Solidaire announced in the summer of 2016 that it was making the demand to increase the minimum wage to $15 a priority. QS deputies showed up on the picket lines to give their support, and QS tabled a petition of several thousand names to the National Assembly in the fall of 2016. The government replied through Finance Minister Leitao that the minimum wage at $10.25 was perfectly adequate. In the southwest of Montreal, QS candidate Véronique Martineau set up a mobilization committee that adopted a plan of work to support this demand.

This demand is very important, since in Quebec, over one million people, 60% of whom were women, earned an hourly wage equal to or less than $15.51 in 2014. The main labour centrals have adopted the demands of the $15 and Fairness campaign and have made a $15 minimum wage part of their bargaining strategy as well as part of their political action programs and demands. This is quite significant not only in Quebec, but for the labour and youth movement across Canada. Efforts should be undertaken to raise this at the up-coming CLC convention and to make this an all-Canada campaign in bargaining. This two pronged attack is exactly the way that the fight for pensions and other important programs were won across Canada.

Meeting in convention, the FTQ voted almost unanimously in favor of a proposal to make the $15 minimum wage one of the priorities in their future negotiations. As a result, the FTQ affiliated unions have committed to include the $15 an hour minimum wage demand in bargaining for the renewal of all collective agreements and in the signing of a first collective agreement.

The Confederal Council of the CSN in June 2016 had already embarked on a campaign to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour in Quebec as quickly as possible. The next CSN convention, to be held June 5-9, 2017 in Montreal, is likely to discuss this issue again. On March 8, the CSN Women’s Committee in Montreal is organizing actions to support the demand for the $15 minimum wage and to highlight the high rates of poverty among women.

In BC, employers at Simon Fraser University’s food services have fired and laid off staff involved in the fight for $15 in their workplace. And in Ontario, food services workers at York University, represented by Unite Here, have been on strike for the $15 an hour demand. This is a fight which is spreading right across the country. If the labour movement takes it up as a Canada-wide fight, it would affect minimum wage workers in the first place, but it would it would also raise the floor under all wages affecting all workers as well.

In Quebec, more than 1500 collective agreements involving more than 100,000 union members expire between September 2016 and August 2017.

The Couillard government recently announced its intention to revise minimum labor standards downwards, stating that if it were to meet union demands, it would have to do the same for employers. In particular, employers are demanding more flexibility in scheduling so as to eliminate the current requirements to pay time and a half for overtime. This will be another big and significant struggle ahead.

Also in Quebec, protests against the reactionary attacks on immigrants have generated broad-based solidarity and support for Quebec Muslims, victims of the St. Foy hate crime murders. This has also resulted in a public statement by Charles Taylor, co-chair of Quebec’s Consultation Commission on Accommodation Practices and co-author of its 2008 report, that he has changed his mind on the recommendations in the report that oppose the wearing of religious or cultural insignia or clothing by provincial judges, Crown prosecutors, police officers and prison guards while on the job. This is an important development in the fight against racism and chauvinism.

Across Canada, working people have responded with messages and actions of solidarity and support for the Muslim community, including surrounding mosques with a human shield against hate and attacks. The public outpouring has contributed to stronger pressure on the federal government to increase immigration and refugee quotas for 2017 and to repeal the Third Country Agreement, which forces refugees from the US to enter Canada illegally via dangerous routes in extreme weather, in order to qualify as refugee applicants.

This is a fitting response to the 36% of Canadians polled who are opposed to immigrants and refugees entering Canada. While this number is far less than in some European countries, it is a threat to all immigrants and refugees, and to democracy in Canada. We need to step up our work in these areas, which also flow from our Plan of Work regarding new immigrant communities.

In May the Canadian Labour Congress meets in Toronto to determine its direction and leadership for the next three years. The CLC represents 3.3 million workers across Canada. This will be an important convention because of the virulent attack on the working class, on racialized and indigenous people, on women and immigrants, and on organized labour, and its democratic allies. This attack can’t be rolled back by the lobbying that has been the main, and perhaps the only tool in the CLC’s arsenal for the past several years. The “advocacy, education and research” which are the Congress’ main function according to the CLC’s website, won’t be enough either. This convention will need to unite and mobilize the 3.3 million workers it represents to take on the employers and their governments in the streets, on the shop floor and in the workplace, in bargaining and on the picket lines, in the Legislatures and on their front steps, in the media, and in every way to stop them and to beat back this vicious and deadly assault.

For the CLC to play its leading role to unite the labour movement with its allies in the democratic and people’s movements, and with the unorganized and unemployed, it will be necessary for the left in the labour movement to be heard on the floor of the convention, pushing for mass, independent labour political action, and for the broadest mobilization in defence of workers’ rights and standards including the right to strike, for immigrant and refugee rights, for women’s and LGBTQ equality rights, against racism, discrimination and Islamophobia, and for full employment, higher wages and pensions, a higher minimum wage, and higher living standards, free education and expanded public healthcare, and for peace, nuclear disarmament, and action on climate change, for democracy and sovereignty. Labour must demonstrate in action that an injury to one is an injury to all.

This is a big job for Communists and others in the left of the labour movement to carry through; no doubt. But it’s the job that needs to be done at this convention, because labour’s role in this fight is vital and central. Working people will lose if the labour movement is not front and centre in the struggle.

And so, therefore, it’s essential that every Communist and left-winger who can get to the CLC Convention, and play a role on the floor of the Convention, in the caucuses, and in the Action Caucus, do whatever is necessary to get to the Convention. Our trade union members need to go to work now to help pull together other left and progressive delegates, and to get organized and prepared in the two months prior to the convention.

One of the goals must be to come out of the convention with a caucus that is able to work together and function after and between conventions. Coordination and unity of the left forces is essential for mass action to result.

Across the country, our Party clubs must become linked into the struggles in their areas of responsibility, able to provide leadership and to unite all the forces in common struggle. Our clubs must be able to demonstrate their links to the struggles around them – not as individuals, but as Communist collectives; as representatives of our Party. We need to make good use of our materials, including our press, which has its own unique role in the struggle to organize, educate, agitate, unite and build the struggle.

As Battle of Words Rages, Threat of Nuclear ‘Accident’ on the Rise
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As Battle of Words Rages, Threat of Nuclear ‘Accident’ on the Rise

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As the Pentagon is set to begin a review that will determine the future of the US’ nuclear weapons program, the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNDR) warns that mixed signals sent on a technologically crowded modern battlefield increase the likelihood of a nuclear accident.

“A greater reliance on automated systems can lead to misplaced confidence while introducing new points of vulnerability,” the report reads, explaining that “hidden interactions” between the drones, satellites, networks and sensors that now make up the military landscape could lead to catastrophic misunderstandings.

Such an incident nearly unfolded in 1983 when a Soviet nuclear early warning system detected five missiles headed toward Moscow, ostensibly launched from the US. The man in charge of informing Soviet authorities of an attack, Lt. Col. Stanislav Petrov, reasoned that the system must have malfunctioned, as it wouldn’t make sense for the US to conduct an attack that would all but guarantee retaliation. Luckily, Petrov was correct, Defense One reported.

Today, the UN report’s authors write, “The complex interactions and tightly coupled systems linked to nuclear arsenals (like those for early warning, and launch command and control) have made ‘accidental war more likely.'”

More nuclear nations, and more nukes in those nations, exacerbates the risk. Washington, for instance, is planning to develop a nuclear cruise missile — a long-range standoff weapon (LRSO) that can be fired from a fighter jet — and is considering developing remote-controlled nuclear-armed drones.

In the report, Russian arms expert Pavel Podvig wrote, “The spread of other systems, such as cruise missiles and drones, and their increasingly frequent use in military conflicts can also add to the complexity of the situation, as can the development of capabilities to detect missiles.”

Podvig also noted that “The intensity of interactions between the United States and Russian militaries, although lower than during the height of the Cold War, does not show signs of decreasing.”

US President Donald Trump, who mandated the arsenal review in a late January memo, recently told reporters, “We’re not getting along with Russia at all … we may be at an all-time low.”

In the memo Trump called for a review to assess “readiness, conditions, including training, equipment maintenance, munitions, modernization, and infrastructure,” adding that, “The Secretary shall initiate a new Ballistic Missile Defense Review to identify ways of strengthening missile-defense capabilities, rebalancing homeland and theater defense priorities, and highlighting priority funding areas.”

Communist Party of Greece: Criticism of certain contemporary opportunist views on the state

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Communist Party of Greece: Criticism of certain contemporary opportunist views on the state

https://communismgr.blogspot.com/2017/04/communist-party-of-greece-criticism-of.html

POSITION OF THE INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS SECTION OF THE CC OF THE KKE AT THE 11th ANNUAL CONFERENCE “V.I.LENIN, THE OCTOBER REVOLUTION AND THE CONTEMPORARY WORLD”.

Source: inter.kke.gr.

The importance and timeliness of Lenin’s work on the state. 

100 years ago, a few months before the Great October Socialist Revolution and in particularly difficult and complex political conditions, V.I. Lenin wrote a fundamentally important work, “The State and Revolution”, which, of course, was published for the first time after the October Revolution in 1918.
In this work, Lenin highlighted the essence and analyzed the class nature of the state: “The state is a product and a manifestation of the irreconcilability of class antagonisms. The state arises where, when and insofar as class antagonisms objectively cannot be reconciled. And, conversely, the existence of the state proves that the class antagonisms are irreconcilable.”[1]

Lenin in this work also establishes the need and timeliness of the socialist revolution and workers’ state.
It was based on the views of K. Marx and F. Engels regarding the issue of the state, which were formulated in several works, such as the “Communist Manifesto”, “the 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte”, “the Civil War in France”, the “Critique of the Gotha Programme”, Engels’ letter to Bebel on 18-18 of March 1875, Engels’ introduction to the third editions of the Marx’ “Civil war in France” etc in relation to the dictatorship of the proletariat. The conclusions Marx and Engels drew from the study and generalization of the experience and lessons of the revolutions was that the working class can acquire political power and establish the dictatorship of the proletariat only through socialist revolution, which destroys the bourgeois state apparatus and creates a new state apparatus. So, we can characteristically refer to the fact that Marx in his work “Critique of the Gotha Programme” stressed that: “Between capitalist and communist society there lies the period of the revolutionary transformation of the one into the other. Corresponding to this is also a political transition period in which the state can be nothing but the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat.”[2]
Lenin highlighted the fundamental importance of this issue for those that understand the existence and determining role of the class struggle in social progress, noting that “particular attention should be paid to Marx’s extremely profound remark that the destruction of the bureaucratic-military state machine is “the precondition for every real people’s revolution””[3] and stressing that “Only he is a Marxist who extends the recognition of the class struggle to the recognition of the dictatorship of the proletariat.”[4]
In addition, Lenin sought to describe the characteristics of the communist social-political formation, basic aspects of the socialist state, while severely criticizing right opportunist and anarchist views in relation to the state.
Of course, this specific work of Lenin, and this is true for the rest of the entire titanic collection of his works, cannot be detached from his other works, such as, for example, “The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky”, and always must be approached in a dialectical relationship with the historical developments. In any case, however, the Leninist approach to the state is an enormous legacy for the international communist movement, which must be utilized in a suitable way in order to repel social-democratic and opportunist views about the state, which have penetrated and continue to penetrate the international communist movement. Consequently, the goal of this intervention is not to present the Leninist positions or appropriate quotations from Lenin, but to provide a response based on the Marxist-Leninist understanding of the state to contemporary opportunist views. This is even more relevant today, when many views that Lenin fought against in his era are re-emerging in old and new forms.

The “neutral” non-class understanding of the state.

The forces of European opportunism constitute the basic tool for the further watering down of the communist characteristics of the communist and workers’ parties. These are forces that are vehicles for bourgeois ideology inside the labour movement. In Europe, they have established their own ideological-political and organizational centre; the Party of the European Left (PEL), which some CPs that in the past were deeply influenced by eurocommunism have joined, such as the CPs of France and Spain. SYRIZA participates in it from Greece. This is a party that is contains forces influenced by the eurocommunist current that split from the KKE in 1968, and also forces that split from the KKE in 1991, under the influence of Gorbachev’s “New Thinking”. This party later merged with forces that came from social-democratic PASOK.
This party argues that:”The state, however, is not a fortress but a network, relationship and strategic arena for political struggle. It does not change from one day to the next, but on the contrary its necessary transformation presupposes constant and continuous battles, the involvement of the people, continuous democratization.”[5]
As is apparent from the above, the bourgeois state is not considered by them to constitute by its very nature an organ for the domination of the bourgeois class, but a collection of institutions that can be transformed in a pro-people direction. On the basis of this view, it is argued that the character of the institutions of the bourgeois state, the bourgeois state as a whole, can be suitable shaped as long as “leftwing governments” hold sway.
This is clearly a misleading view, because in practice it detaches the state from its economic base, from the dominant economic relations. It creates illusions amongst the workers that the role of the bourgeois state and its institutions (e.g. parliament, government, army, police) depends on which political force (“left” or “right”) is dominant in them.
Similarly dangerous views are being cultivated today in a number of Latin American countries, through the concept of “progressivism”, through the various “progressive” and “left” governments, which after their electoral victories attempt to sow illusions among the people that the system can change via bourgeois elections and referenda.
In reality, however, there is no class “neutrality” on the part of the bourgeois state and its institutions. The state, as Marxism-Leninism has demonstrated, has a clear class content, which cannot be used via electoral processes and bourgeois governmental solutions in favour of the working class and social change.
 

On the view concerning the “Deep State”.

The emergence of SYRIZA as a governing party in Greece led to the celebrations of many opportunist forces all over the world. Indeed, its cooperation with the nationalist ANEL party in government was interpreted by some as an attempt to control the deep state of Greece via this political governmental alliance.[6] Similarly, some presented the statements of made by A. Tsipras even before the elections, when he directly stated that Greece “belongs to the West” and that Greece’s withdrawal from NATO was not on the agenda, as being a smart move.[7]
What is the aim of this view that separates the functions of the bourgeois state from each other like “salami slices”? Of course, inside the state apparatus of the bourgeois state, there are structures with different functions and tasks. However this does not support the view that separates the state into «hard” and “soft” sections. So, for example, the municipalities, the local services are an integral part of bourgeois administration, as local government is also tasked with implementing the reactionary, anti-people legal framework that is approved by each bourgeois government and parliamentary majority. The communists in our country are active in local government, seek to win the majority in the municipalities and today have achieved this in 5 of the country’s municipalities, which include the 3rd largest city in Greece, Patras. However they do not foster illusions amongst the workers about the character of this section of the bourgeois state. They seek as an opposition or as majority in the administration of the municipalities to utilize their position to develop the class struggle and not to “cleanse” capitalism which is what SYRIZA and other opportunist forces argue for.
These opportunist forces find the separation of the bourgeois state into sections convenient. First of all, because this can conceal that the entire state apparatus, regardless of the different functions of its sections, is in the service of the bourgeois class. Secondly, because in this way they sow the illusion amongst the workers that gradually, beginning from the “periphery” of the bourgeois state and marching to the “centre”, to its “depths”, they can “cleanse” it, transform it into a state that will be pro-people.
Opportunist forces foster similarly utopian views even about the inter-state capitalist unions, such as the imperialist EU. Indeed, they propagandize that via referenda or the emergence of left, social-democratic governments, allegedly a “democratic structure for the continent” can be created with “respect for the democratic, sovereign rights of the peoples»[8]. In reality, these claims deliberately bypass the class character of this inter-state union, which arises from the class character of the bourgeois states that constitute it, and which from its birth, as the “European Community for Coal and Steel” in 1952, had been created for the interests of capital.

The expansion of democracy in the bourgeois state as a “step” to socialism.

Lenin came into sharp conflict with those, like Bernstein, who argued that the reform of capitalism and the gradual reformist transformation of society are possible.
Later, the views of Eurocommunism gained a lot of ground, views which argued that communists can transform the state in a pro-people direction via the parliamentary road and the expansion of democracy.
The KKE, which fought and continues today to fight against these views, has estimated that the similar assessments made by the CPSU did a great deal of damage to the international communist movement. These views came to hold sway in the international communist movement mainly after the 20th Congress of the CPSU and spoke of a “parliamentary transition”[9]. Consequently, we consider views that developed on this basis and argue for the violation of basic principles of socialist revolution and construction to be problematic, e.g. the talk about “a variety of forms of transition to socialism” or the so-called “non-capitalist development path.”
The KKE has drawn conclusions and has rejected the “stages to socialism”, which tormented and continue today to torment the communist movement, as due to these “stages” they on the one hand negate the role of the CP as a force to overthrow capitalism in the name of the “current” tasks in the framework of the system (e.g. the aim of restoring bourgeois democracy in the conditions of dictatorship) and on the other hand they sow illusions about the “parliamentary transition” to socialism.
The KKE studies its history, draws valuable conclusions from the heroic struggles of the communists in the past decades. The CC of the KKE noted amongst other things in its recent statement on the 50th anniversary of the Junta in Greece:”The KKE and the labour-people’s movement seek and struggle to be able to function in the best possible conditions, which will facilitate their struggle and more generally expand their interventions against capital and its power. They struggle for freedoms and rights, in order to remove obstacles to their activity, in order to restrict-as far as possible-state repression.”[10] Nevertheless our party, studying its history, assesses that:”The dictatorship provided new experience that demonstrates the baseless character of the assessment that held sway in the International Communist Movement and the KKE, that the path of struggle for an advanced bourgeois democracy is fertile terrain for the concentration of forces and for approaching the revolutionary process, that the struggle for democracy is dialectically connected to the struggle for socialism. This assessment impeded the party from highlighting the military dictatorship as a form of the dictatorship of capital, impeded the orientation of the people’s struggle as a whole against the enemy-the dictatorship of the bourgeois class and its imperialist alliances, like NATO.”[11]
Today, similar mistaken views are being fostered within the ranks of the communist movement. These are views that either talk of “stages” on the road to socialism or of communists “penetrating” power, with the aim in both cases of expanding democracy, as a first stage to socialism.
In practice, such views postpone the struggle to overthrow of capitalist exploitation to the distant future, trap and restrict the labour movement inside the framework of only struggling for better conditions for the sale of labour power, negating the orientation of the struggle to radicalize the labour movement, to regroup it, to concentrate social forces, which have an interest in confronting the monopolies and can struggle for the overthrow of capitalism and the construction of the new socialist-communist society.

The nationalization of capitalist businesses as a step to change the nature of the state.

Similar confusion exists regarding issues related to the economy. For many years, the international communist movement, which was and to a great extent continues to be trapped in the rationale of stages to socialism, saw the reinforcement of the state sector of the bourgeois state as a step to socialism.
Indeed, today some misunderstand the Leninist position that “state-monopoly capitalism is a complete material preparation for socialism, the threshold of socialism, a rung on the ladder of history between which and the rung called socialism there are no intermediate rungs,”[12] in order to justify the active support and participation of communists in bourgeois management with an expanded state sector of the economy. But in this way they mistakenly understand state-monopoly capitalism as being the existence of a strong state sector in the economy and not as imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism, as described by Lenin.
Life has demonstrated that capitalism, in line with its needs, can aim for a large section of a country’s economy to be state-managed. So, for example, in the 1970s and 1980s the largest part of the Greek economy was in the hands of the state, however this did not at all change the character of the bourgeois state. Nor, of course, does it mean that a policy of gradually nationalizing private businesses, which usually means capitalists simply passing on their debts to the state, can lead to a change of its character. As long as power is in the hands of the bourgeois class, the state (with a stronger or weaker state sector) will be bourgeois, and the ruling class will act as the “collective capitalist” of state ownership.

The name of the state as a reflection on how its nature is viewed.

Lenin described the basic aspects of the workers’ state. We cannot close our eyes to Lenin’s analysis and just orient ourselves to the adjectives that accompany the name of a state. Today, for example, the “People’s Republic of Lugansk” and the “People’s Republic of Donetsk” have emerged. What is the character of these self-proclaimed “People’s Republics”? And as an aside to this discussion, we could bear in mind the existence, for example, of the so-called “People’s Republic of Congo”, where small children work in the mines in terrible conditions so that the foreign monopolies can acquire valuable minerals like cobalt and copper.
We assess that we cannot judge a state and our stance towards it exclusively on the basis of how it defines itself and its proclamations. A basic criterion must be which class owns the means production and holds power in the specific state, what kinds of relations of production are predominant in the specific country. And this is because the state for Marxist-Leninists is a “repressive machine”, which in our era objectively, in the 21st century, in the era of the passage from capitalism to socialism, ushered in by the October Revolution, will either be in the hands of the bourgeois class or the working class. There is no middle way!
We must not forget that as always, and today is no exception, the bourgeois classes seek to conceal their goals, to conceal the class character of their state. So, for example, a classic method that the bourgeois class uses to camouflage the state is the projection of its “national” character, presenting its state as a “weapon” to defend the entire nation. Today the bourgeois do not hesitate to also utilize other propaganda “weapons” in order to subordinate the labour movement “under their banners». The communists, the labour movement as a whole, must demonstrate a high level of vigilance when bourgeois politicians, who contributed to capitalist restoration in the former USSR, today utilize the anti-fascist “card”.
Today, when the bourgeois class is also reinforcing fascist forces, some of which even seek to play a role in government, such as, for example, in Ukraine, the appeals for new “anti-fascist fronts” and for alliances even with bourgeois political forces, and even bourgeois states that appear with an anti-fascist mantle, are intensifying. However, as the KKE assessed in the Declaration of the CC of the KKE on the 70 years since the end of the 2nd World Imperialist War and the great anti-fascist victory of the peoples:”The reactionary bourgeois state is neither willing nor able to tackle Nazism root and branch; neither can the so called “antifascist fronts”, an alliance of the labour-people’s movement in cooperation with bourgeois political forces.  Only the people’s alliance, the development of the class struggle with the aim of overthrowing the monopolies’ power, the capitalist system can deal with Nazism.”[13]
In addition, the KKE assesses that today the goal of workers’ power must not be pushed aside by another governmental goal on the terrain of capitalism, in the name of the deterioration of the situation of the working class and popular strata, due to the deep and prolonged economic crisis, imperialist war, open terror against the CP and the labour movement by Nazi-fascist organizations, provocations, the intensification of state violence.[14]
 

Socialist construction and the state under socialism.

For decades, social-democrats and opportunists have been carrying out, amongst other things, a systematic effort to negate every scientific approach to socialism and its state. We read, for example, in the material of the opportunist centre of Europe, the PEL, that it defends the “perspective of a democratic socialism». And this “socialist perspective” is defined by the PEL as “a society of justice founded on the pooling of wealth and the means of production, and on the sovereignty of democratic choice, in harmony with the planet’s limited resources.”Similar confusion and anti-Marxist approaches of the socialist society have multiplied in recent years with the various “socialisms” of Latin America. From the “Socialism of the 21st Century” of Chavez to the “socialism of buen vivir” in Ecuador, where the US dollar is used as the national currency.
They aim for us to ignore the fact that at the base of every socio-economic formation is a specific mode of production, which is the dialectical unity of the forces of production and the relations of production. The relations of production as whole in every phase of the process of reproduction-production, distribution, exchange, consumption- constitute the economic base of society. Approaching this issue scientifically, Lenin underscored that:”In the social production of their life, men enter into definite relations that are indispensable and independent of their will, relations of production which correspond to a definite stage of development of their material productive forces. The sum total of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society, the real foundation, on which rises a legal and political superstructure and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness.[15]
J.V. Stalin noted: “There are two types of production: the capitalist, including the state-capitalist, type, where there are two classes, where production is carried on for the profit of the capitalist; and there is the other type, the socialist type of production, where there is no exploitation, where the means of production belong to the working class, and where the enterprises are run not for the profit of an alien class, but for the expansion of industry in the interests of the workers as a whole.”[16]
This is why the KKE rejects various interpretations of socialism, which have nothing to do with the Marxist-Leninist view, and as it has often stressed in relation to the views of the PEL, or the various “socialisms” of Latin America, that what we have in essence is the promotion of opportunist positions about the “humanization” of capitalism, “ the utopia about the democratization of the bourgeois state, while the “mixed” capitalist economy is being presented as being a new model of socialism. “The logic of national specificities constituted the instrument of “eurocommunism” in order to deny the scientific laws of socialist revolution and construction and today the problem manifests itself with the same or similar arguments.(…) in order to substantiate the substitution of the revolutionary path with parliamentarianism, the relegation of socialism into governmental changes which will manage bourgeois society, as, for example, the Sao Paolo Forum and other forces do. The construction of socialism is a unified process, which begins with the conquest of power by the working class in order to form the new mode of production, which will prevail with the complete abolition of capitalist relations, the capital-wage labour relations. The socialization of the means of production and central planning are laws of socialist construction, necessary conditions for the satisfaction of the people’s needs.”[17]
The KKE, studying the experience of socialist construction assessed the 1965 economic reforms in the USSR as being mistaken. These were reforms that gave priority to “market reforms” and brought back the role of profit to the socialist economy. As a result vested interests emerged in the enterprises, which were not always in harmony with the interests of society. The mistaken reforms in the economy were combined with similar mistaken directions in the political superstructure (e.g. the All-people’s state) and in the strategy of the international communist movement (e.g. policy of “peaceful coexistence”).Of course, our party disagrees with the assessments of CPs, which were pulled into the damaging current of “Maoism” and which considered that from one moment to the next, immediately after the 20th Congress, the workers’ state ceased to exist or indeed that it was allegedly transformed into “social-imperialism” and in this way they participated in the anti-soviet propaganda. In contrast, our party, which defends the contribution of the USSR as the international communist and workers’ movement did, considers that socialism was constructed in the USSR. However, it also considers that the 20th Congress of the CPSU was a turning point, because a number of opportunist positions were adopted on issues related to the economy, the strategy of the communist movement and international relations.
Today, we evaluate that 30 years after the counterrevolution in the USSR, Central and Eastern Europe, the capitalization of China has advanced. Capitalist relations of production hold sway there. At the same time we observe the continuing reinforcement of capitalist relations in countries that sought socialist construction, such as Vietnam and Cuba.[18]
Some comrades from other CPs argue that the developments in these countries are reminiscent of the NEP in Lenin’s era. In other texts[19], we have highlighted the differences between the NEP and the changes taking place in these countries and the results of which our party is concerned about, based in its long study of the experience of the USSR. And this is because the socialization of the concentrated means of production, central planning in the distribution of labour power and the means of production, the eradication of the exploitation of man by man for the majority of workers are basic and necessary conditions, not only for the beginning of socialist construction, but also for its continuation.
In addition, as Lenin had noted that:”the dictatorship of the proletariat is not only the use of force against the exploiters, and not even mainly the use of force. The economic foundation of this use of revolutionary force, the guarantee of its effectiveness and success is the fact that the proletariat represents and creates a higher type of social organization of labour compared with capitalism. This is what is important, this is the source of the strength and the guarantee that the final triumph of communism is inevitable.”[20] It is clear that this “higher type of social organization” can have nothing to do with nepotism. As was noted in the Report of the CC of the KKE to the 20th Congress of the party “North Korea has proceeded to reinforcing the so-called “free economic zones”, the “market». The Workers’ Party of Korea has for some years relinquished Marxism-Leninism and promotes the idealist “Juche” theory, speaks of “Kimilsungism-Kimjongunism”, violating every concept of socialist democracy,  workers’-people’s control, in a regime of nepotism.”[21]

Instead of an epilogue: We must close the “loopholes” of the 2nd International.

The KKE carried out a deep study of the causes that led to the overthrow of socialism in the USSR, following the path of many years of inner-party study and discussion and devoting its 18th Congress (in 2009) in order to provide comprehensive answers on this issue, drawing valuable conclusions for the future. On the basis of this effort, grounded in Marxism-Leninism, our party enriched its programmatic understanding of socialism, something that is reflected in the new Programme adopted at the 19th Congress (2013).
 
The Programme of the KKE notes amongst other things:The socialist power is the revolutionary power of the working class, the dictatorship of the proletariat. The working class power will replace all the bourgeois institutions, which will be smashed by the revolutionary activity, with new institutions that will be created by the people.”[22]
In addition, the Programme of the KKE describes in detail:
  • The material basis of the necessity of socialism in Greece
  • The duties of the KKE for the socialist revolution
  •  Its duties more specifically on the revolutionary situation
  • The leading role of the Party in the revolution
  •  Socialism as the first, lowest phase of communism
  • The issue of the satisfaction of the social needs
  • Fundamental principles of the formation of the socialist power
The 20th Congress of the KKE, which was held this year, on the 30th of March-2nd April 2017, posed the task of the comprehensive ideological-political-organizational steeling of the party and its youth as a party for the revolutionary overthrow.
100 years ago, at the end of his work “State of Revolution”, V. I. Lenin noted that the 2nd International had spiraled into opportunism, that the experience of the Commune was forgotten and distorted and he added that:” Far from inculcating in the workers’ minds the idea that the time is nearing when they must act to smash the old state machine, replace it by a new one, and in this way make their political rule the foundation for the socialist reorganization of society, they have actually preached to the masses the very opposite and have depicted the “conquest of power” in a way that has left thousands of loopholes for opportunism.”[23]
Today, 100 years after the Great October Revolution and a year before the 100th anniversary of the founding of our party, the KKE seeks with its positions and activity to bar the “doors and windows” to opportunism. This is a precondition for the realization of the ideals of a society without the exploitation of man by man.
 

[1] “State and Revolution”, V.I. Lenin, Collected Works, V. 25
[2] “Critique of the Gotha Programme”, K. Marx
[3] “State and Revolution”, V.I. Lenin, Collected Works, V.25
[4] “State and Revolution”, V.I. Lenin, Collected Works, V.25
[5]From SYRIZA’s governmental programme.
[6] The Real News Network, Interview (28/1/2015) with Leo Panitch, Professor of Political Science at York University, Toronto, Canada. http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=13071&updaterx=2015-01-28+01%3A16%3A04
[7] Article of Paul Mason (1/9/2015), former BBC journalist and former economics editor for Channel 4 News.http://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/paul-mason-what-unites-the-new-movements-of-the-left-1.2335322
[8] 5th Congress of the PEL. Political Document: “Refound Europe, create new progressive convergence”
[10] “Statement of the CC of the KKE on the Military Coup of the 21st of April 1967. “Rizospastis”, 5 March 2017.
[11] Ibid
[12] “The impending catastrophe and how to combat it”, V.I. Lenin, Collected Works, V.25
[14] ibid
[15]  “Karl Marx”, V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, V.21
[16]J.V. Stalin, Works, V. 7
[20] “A great beginning”, V.I. Lenin, Collected Works, V. 29
[21]Report of the CC of the KKE to the 20th Congress of the party, March 2017.
[23] «State and Revolution”, V.I. Lenin, Collected Works, V. 25.
‘Demonic destiny’: Long history of US threats to N. Korea

https://www.rt.com/usa/385090-presidents-north-korea-history/

‘Demonic destiny’: Long history of US threats to N. Korea
The US is considering “all options” against North Korea, the Trump administration has said, escalating tensions with Pyongyang over the country’s nuclear weapons program and missile tests, and reviving one of the world’s longest unresolved conflicts.

On Monday, US Vice President Mike Pence made an unannounced visit to the demilitarized zone (DMZ) along the border between South and North Korea, and declared the “end of strategic patience” toward the North. President Donald Trump was blunter, saying that North Korea “gotta behave.” The saber-rattling comes after the latest North Korean missile test, which failed Sunday.

READ MORE: ‘Era of strategic patience’ by US towards N. Korea is over – Pence

Korea was ruled by Japan from 1910, then occupied by US and Soviet troops in 1945. The Republic of Korea was established in May 1948 in the US-occupied southern portion of the peninsula. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was set up in the north four months later, under the Communist leader Kim Il-Sung. DPRK forces invaded the South in June 1950, seeking to reunify the country by force. When US-led UN troops intervened and advanced into North Korea, China got involved as well. The resulting stalemate was frozen by a 1953 armistice.

Obama: ‘We could destroy you’

Trump and Pence’s statements are a shift from the policy embraced by Barack Obama, whose policy in the Korean peninsula was to deploy the THAAD missile defense system in the South as a counter to “relatively low level threats” from North Korean rockets.

“We could, obviously, destroy North Korea with our arsenals,” Obama told CBS News in April 2016. “But aside from the humanitarian costs of that, they are right next door to our vital ally, Republic of Korea.”

Bush: ‘Axis of evil’

North Korea was described as part of the “axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world,” by George W. Bush, during his State of the Union speech in January 2002.

North Korea responded by resuming its nuclear weapons program, which was on hold after a 1994 deal with the Clinton administration, expelling International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors from the country, and withdrawing from the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) in January 2003.

Reagan: ‘Uncivilized’

Ronald Reagan condemned North Korea’s “uncivilized behavior” during a November 1983 speech to the Korean National Assembly in Seoul.

“North Korea is one of the most repressive societies on Earth. It does not prosper, it arms,” Reagan added.

Nixon and Johnson: Almost nuclear

In April 1969, Richard Nixon asked for military options – including a possible nuclear strike – after North Korea shot down a US EC-121 spy plane over the Sea of Japan. By 1971, however, he reduced the number of US troops in South Korea by almost 20,000, as part of his policy of détente with China.

Lyndon Johnson also considered a nuclear strike in January 1968, following the North Korean capture of the US spy ship, USS Pueblo. The ship’s crew was eventually returned after almost a year in captivity, though the vessel itself remained in North Korea as a trophy.

Truman: ‘Direct challenge’

On June 27, 1950, Harry S. Truman “ordered United States air and sea forces to give the Korean Government troops cover and support,” along with bolstering US forces in the Philippines, giving a security guarantee to the Chinese government in exile on Taiwan (Formosa) and sending aid to France in Indochina, thus first involving the US in what would become the Vietnam War.

“By their actions in Korea, Communist leaders have demonstrated their contempt for the basic moral principles on which the United Nations is founded. This is a direct challenge to the efforts of the free nations to build the kind of world in which men can live in freedom and peace,” Truman declared in the address to the nation on July 19.

While the US troops under Gen. Douglas MacArthur did turn the tide of war, their advance into North Korea prompted a Chinese intervention, dangerously escalating the conflict. When MacArthur urged a nuclear attack on China and sealing the Korean border with “a belt of radioactive cobalt,” Truman fired him in April 1951.

Eisenhower: ‘No demonic destiny’

During his 1952 campaign for president, Dwight Eisenhower vowed he would go to Korea and end the war.

“No demonic destiny decreed that America had to be bled this way in order to keep South Korea free and to keep freedom itself self-respecting,” he declared in October 1952.

“We are not mute prisoners of history,” he added. “That is a doctrine for totalitarians. It is not a creed for free men.”

Eisenhower won an overwhelming majority of votes, and visited Korea at the end of November. The armistice was signed on July 27, 1953.

V.I.Lenin- The Tasks of the Proletariat in the Present Revolution (The April Theses)

Monday, April 17, 2017

V.I.Lenin- The Tasks of the Proletariat in the Present Revolution (The April Theses)

https://communismgr.blogspot.com/2017/04/vilenin-tasks-of-proletariat-in-present.html#more

Vladimir I. Lenin – The Tasks of the Proletariat in the Present Revolution (“The April Theses”).
Published on April 7, 1917 in Pravda No. 26.
Source: Lenin’s Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1964, Moscow, Volume 24, pp. 19-26. via Marxists Internet Archives.
 
I did not arrive in Petrograd until the night of April 3, and therefore at the meeting on April 4, I could, of course, deliver the report on the tasks of the revolutionary proletariat only on my own behalf, and with reservations as to insufficient preparation.
 
The only thing I could do to make things easier for myself—and for honest opponents—was to prepare the theses in writing. I read them out, and gave the text to Comrade Tsereteli. I read them twice very slowly: first at a meeting of Bolsheviks and then at a meeting of both Bolsheviks and Mensheviks.
 
I publish these personal theses of mine with only the briefest explanatory notes, which were developed in far greater detail in the report.
THESES
 
1. In our attitude towards the war, which under the new [provisional] government of Lvov and Co. unquestionably remains on Russia’s part a predatory imperialist war owing to the capitalist nature of that government, not the slightest concession to “revolutionary defencism” is permissible.
 
The class-conscious proletariat can give its consent to a revolutionary war, which would really justify revolutionary defencism, only on condition: (a) that the power pass to the proletariat and the poorest sections of the peasants aligned with the proletariat; (b) that all annexations be renounced in deed and not in word; (c) that a complete break be effected in actual fact with all capitalist interests.
 
In view of the undoubted honesty of those broad sections of the mass believers in revolutionary defencism who accept the war only as a necessity, and not as a means of conquest, in view of the fact that they are being deceived by the bourgeoisie, it is necessary with particular thoroughness, persistence and patience to explain their error to them, to explain the inseparable connection existing between capital and the imperialist war, and to prove that without overthrowing capital it is impossible to end the war by a truly democratic peace, a peace not imposed by violence.
 
The most widespread campaign for this view must be organised in the army at the front.
 
Fraternisation.  
 
2. The specific feature of the present situation in Russia is that the country is passing from the first stage of the revolution—which, owing to the insufficient class-consciousness and organisation of the proletariat, placed power in the hands of the bourgeoisie—to its second stage, which must place power in the hands of the proletariat and the poorest sections of the peasants.
 
This transition is characterised, on the one hand, by a maximum of legally recognised rights (Russia is now the freest of all the belligerent countries in the world); on the other, by the absence of violence towards the masses, and, finally, by their unreasoning trust in the government of capitalists, those worst enemies of peace and socialism.
 
This peculiar situation demands of us an ability to adapt ourselves to the special conditions of Party work among unprecedentedly large masses of proletarians who have just awakened to political life.
 
3. No support for the Provisional Government; the utter falsity of all its promises should be made clear, particularly of those relating to the renunciation of annexations. Exposure in place of the impermissible, illusion-breeding “demand” that this government, a government of capitalists, should cease to be an imperialist government. 
 
4. Recognition of the fact that in most of the Soviets of Workers’ Deputies our Party is in a minority, so far a small minority, as against a bloc of all the petty-bourgeois opportunist elements, from the Popular Socialists and the Socialist-Revolutionaries down to the Organising Committee (Chkheidze, Tsereteli, etc.), Steklov, etc., etc., who have yielded to the influence of the bourgeoisie and spread that influence among the proletariat.
 
The masses must be made to see that the Soviets of Workers’ Deputies are the only possible form of revolutionary government, and that therefore our task is, as long as this government yields to the influence of the bourgeoisie, to present a patient, systematic, and persistent explanation of the errors of their tactics, an explanation especially adapted to the practical needs of the masses.
 
As long as we are in the minority we carry on the work of criticising and exposing errors and at the same time we preach the necessity of transferring the entire state power to the Soviets of Workers’ Deputies, so that the people may overcome their mistakes by experience.
 
5. Not a parliamentary republic—to return to a parliamentary republic from the Soviets of Workers’ Deputies would be a retrograde step—but a republic of Soviets of Workers’, Agricultural Labourers’ and Peasants’ Deputies throughout the country, from top to bottom.
 
Abolition of the police, the army and the bureaucracy.[1] The salaries of all officials, all of whom are elective and displaceable at any time, not to exceed the average wage of a competent worker.
 
6. The weight of emphasis in the agrarian programme to be shifted to the Soviets of Agricultural Labourers’ Deputies.
 
Confiscation of all landed estates.
 
Nationalisation of all lands in the country, the land to be disposed of by the local Soviets of Agricultural Labourers’ and Peasants’ Deputies. The organisation of separate Soviets of Deputies of Poor Peasants. The setting up of a model farm on each of the large estates (ranging in size from 100 to 300 dessiatines, according to local and other conditions, and to the decisions of the local bodies) under the control of the Soviets of Agricultural Labourers’ Deputies and for the public account.
 
7. The immediate union of all banks in the country into a single national bank, and the institution of control over it by the Soviet of Workers’ Deputies. 
 
8. It is not our immediate task to “introduce” socialism, but only to bring social production and the distribution of products at once under the control of the Soviets of Workers’ Deputies. 
 
9. Party tasks:
 
(a) Immediate convocation of a Party congress;
(b) Alteration of the Party Programme, mainly:
      (1) On the question of imperialism and the imperialist war.
    (2) On our attitude towards the state and our demand for a “commune state”[2];
      (3) Amendment of our out-of-date minimum programme;
(c) Change of the Party’s name.[3]
 
10. A new International.
 
We must take the initiative in creating a revolutionary International, an International against the social-chauvinists and against the “Centre”.[4]
 
In order that the reader may understand why I had especially to emphasise as a rare exception the “case” of honest opponents, I invite him to compare the above theses with the following objection by Mr. Goldenberg: Lenin, he said, “has planted the banner of civil war in the midst of revolutionary democracy” (quoted in No. 5 of Mr. Plekhanov’s Yedinstvo).
Copy of Lenin’s “April Theses”
handwritten notes.
Isn’t it a gem?
 
I write, announce and elaborately explain: “In view of the undoubted honesty of those broad sections of the mass believers in revolutionary defencism … in view of the fact that they are being deceived by the bourgeoisie, it is necessary with particular thoroughness, persistence and patience to explain their error to them….”
 
Yet the bourgeois gentlemen who call themselves Social-Democrats, who do not belong either to the broad sections or to the mass believers in defencism, with serene brow present my views thus: “The banner[!] of civil war” (of which there is not a word in the theses and not a word in my speech!) has been planted(!) “in the midst [!!] of revolutionary democracy…”.
 
What does this mean? In what way does this differ from riot-inciting agitation, from Russkaya Volya?
 
I write, announce and elaborately explain: “The Soviets of Workers’ Deputies are the only possible form of revolutionary government, and therefore our task is to present a patient, systematic, and persistent explanation of the errors of their tactics, an explanation especially adapted to the practical needs of the masses.”
 
Yet opponents of a certain brand present my views as a call to “civil war in the midst of revolutionary democracy”!
 
I attacked the Provisional Government for not having appointed an early date or any date at all, for the convocation of the Constituent Assembly, and for confining itself to promises. I argued that without the Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies the convocation of the Constituent Assembly is not guaranteed and its success is impossible.
 
And the view is attributed to me that I am opposed to the speedy convocation of the Constituent Assembly!
 
I would call this “raving”, had not decades of political struggle taught me to regard honesty in opponents as a rare exception.
 
Mr. Plekhanov in his paper called my speech “raving”. Very good, Mr. Plekhanov! But look how awkward, uncouth and slow-witted you are in your polemics. If I delivered a raving speech for two hours, how is it that an audience of hundreds tolerated this “raving”? Further, why does your paper devote a whole column to an account of the “raving”? Inconsistent, highly inconsistent!
 
It is, of course, much easier to shout, abuse, and howl than to attempt to relate, to explain, to recall what Marx and Engels said in 1871, 1872 and 1875 about the experience of the Paris Commune and about the kind of state the proletariat needs. 
 
Ex-Marxist Mr. Plekhanov evidently does not care to recall Marxism.
 
I quoted the words of Rosa Luxemburg, who on August 4, 1914, called German Social-Democracy a “stinking corpse”. And the Plekhanovs, Goldenbergs and Co. feel “offended”. On whose behalf? On behalf of the Germanchauvinists, because they were called chauvinists!
 
They have got themselves in a mess, these poor Russian social-chauvinists—socialists in word and chauvinists in deed.
 

Notes

 

[1] i.e. the standing army to be replaced by the arming of the whole people.—Lenin

[2] i.e., a state of which the Paris Commune was the prototype.—Lenin

[3] Instead of “Social-Democracy”, whose official leaders throughout the world have betrayed socialism and deserted to the bourgeoisie (the “defencists” and the vacillating “Kautskyites”), we must call ourselves the Communist Party.—Lenin

[4] The “Centre” in the international Social-Democratic movement is the trend which vacillates between the chauvinists (=“defencists”) and internationalists, i.e., Kautsky and Co. in Germany, Longuet and Co. in France, Chkheidze and Co. in Russia, Turati and Co. in Italy, MacDonald and Co. in Britain, etc.—Lenin

#1917LIVE: Lenin arrives in Stockholm after ‘sealed train’ trip through Germany (PHOTO)
| April 13, 2017 | 7:55 pm | political struggle, USSR, V.I. Lenin | No comments

https://www.rt.com/news/384615-lenin-arrives-stockholm-1917/

#1917LIVE: Lenin arrives in Stockholm after ‘sealed train’ trip through Germany (PHOTO)
Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin, rushing to join the Russian Revolution, arrives in Stockholm after passing through hostile Germany. Follow his momentous trip with #1917LIVE and the real-time #LeninTracker.

As the February Revolution toppled the Tsarist regime earlier in 1917, the Bolshevik party finds itself weak and poorly organized – most of its leaders were in exile at the time. Vladimir Ulyanov, already known by his pseudonym Lenin, was in exile in Switzerland.

Having missed the start of the First Russian Revolution of 1905, Lenin felt it was now or never – he must make it to the capital, St. Petersburg (then called Petrograd). But it wasn’t easy – World War I was raging in Europe and such a journey was perilous. Unhappy with Lenin’s anti-war position, the British denied him passage through their territory.

So Lenin and three dozen fellow Bolsheviks struck a deal with Germany, Russia’s enemy in the war, to let them pass through its territory.

After a three-day journey in a “sealed” train car, which had diplomatic immunity, 32 Bolsheviks safely make it to neutral Sweden.

On April 13, 1917, the Russian political émigrés arrive in Stockholm, where they receive a warm welcome by Swedish Socialists.
They stay at the Hotel Regina, where Lenin holds meetings with Russian political émigrés and Swedish Social-Democrats. Being so far away from Russia, he is desperately seeking up-to-date information about the situation in revolutionary Petrograd.

The only known photo of the group was taken in Stockholm. Here Lenin (with umbrella) and his fellow Bolsheviks walk through the city accompanied by Swedish Socialists Ture Nerman and Carl Lindhagen.

Because of Lenin’s shabby look, his comrades convince him to buy some new clothing and shoes at a local department store. There he also buys his signature cap, perfecting his proletarian revolutionary look.

In the evening the group departs the Swedish capital and heads north to the border with Finland, which at the time was part of the Russian Empire.

Despite belligerent Germany being left behind, the most dangerous part of the journey lies ahead. The Bolsheviks do not know how they will be treated at the Russian border – they could easily be arrested as traitors.

The Swedish town of Haparanda is the next stop on this historic journey and you can follow it with the #LeninTracker – part of the #1917LIVE project, which brings you the latest news from revolutionary Russia in real time hundred years ago.

#1917LIVE: Be part of revolution on Twitter & write your own history with #1917CROWD hashtag