From the Communist Party of Canada
Meeting over the June 13-14 weekend in Toronto, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Canada reviewed a recent upsurge of membership recruiting, and stepped up plans for the federal election expected on October 19. The CC meeting also set the ball rolling for the party’s 38th Central Convention, planned for May 2016.
CPC leader Miguel Figueroa opened the gathering with a wide-ranging report on the international situation, and on political developments in Canada.
Figueroa warned that “the main feature today is the dramatic escalation in militarism and the drive to war by U.S. imperialism and its allies… by growing interference in the domestic affairs of other countries, and by outright intervention to overturn states and governments perceived to be hostile to its regional or global interests…. (and by) an all-sided offensive to roll back the social and economic gains of the working class and working people generally, and sharpened attacks on labour, democratic and civil rights.”
The report slammed the Harper government’s support for the US intervention in Iraq and Syria, its backing for the pro-fascist regime in Ukraine and for Israeli expansionism, and for its belligerent attitude to the Bolivarian government in Venezuela.
Imperialist interventions and “regime change” tactics, says the report, are pushing the world in a dangerous direction. As the World Peace Council recently noted, overall military expenditures last year reached almost $1.5 trillion (2.4 % of global GDP), 37% of which was spent by the USA.
The global web of U.S. military bases and installations is now estimated at roughly 1,000. The “new cold war” campaign against the Russian Federation over the issue of Ukraine, together with NATO’s push to tighten the encirclement of Russia, raise the potential of nuclear war.
U.S. imperialism has also begun a dangerous expansion in the Pacific. The “Pivot to Asia” plan to encircle the People’s Republic of China calls for deployment of 60% of the U.S. naval fleet in the area, with grave consequences to peace and stability. This strategy also has a South Asian component, based on closer U.S. relations with India’s reactionary BJP government under PM Narendra Modi.
Meanwhile, the U.S. and NATO imperialist powers are conducting new wars in the Middle East, under the cover of the ‘war on terror’. In reality, as the report says, this is part of a strategy to impose a ‘New Middle East’: a patchwork of weak, fractured Arab states divided among sectarian lines, in order to undermine pan-Arab unity and facilitate Israeli expansionism.
Imperialist intervention is also growing in Africa, where the first major operation after the formation of the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) in 2008 was the US/NATO operation to smash the Gaddafi government in Libya in 2011. One recent study found US military involvement in no fewer than 49 African nations.
As the report notes, one continent where imperialist interests continue to suffer setbacks is South America. At the Summit of the Americas in April, delegation after delegation rose to condemn U.S. economic and political interference in their affairs, and to demand that Washington rescind its executive decree calling Venezuela a ‘national security threat’. It was also a significant moment for socialist Cuba, invited to participate for the first time, represented by President Raul Castro.
CC members discussed these developments at length, along with the ominous growth of extreme right parties in several countries across Europe. While ultra-right and neo-fascist groups are less visible in Canada, some are emerging, adding heightened importance to the struggle to combat right-wing populism, anti-immigrant attacks, racism and fascism in this country.
Turning to the domestic situation, Figueroa referred to growing job insecurity, increased household debt, deteriorating social services due to government ‘restraint’ measures, and a tightening squeeze on real incomes and living standards of working people, in contrast to rapidly accumulating wealth in the coffers of the banks, corporations and the super-rich. Widening disparities in Canada are “the net result of the anti-working class offensive of monopoly interests at the workplace, around the bargaining table, and through the austerity policies of governments, especially the Harper Conservatives.” The true face of Harper’s “economic action plan,” he stressed, is to “enhance corporate profitability and the concentration of capital through a wholesale transfer of wealth from the working class, small farmers and primary producers, Aboriginal peoples, women, new immigrant communities and migrant workers, youth and the elderly.”
This is the context of the Conservative government’s Bill C-51, which aims to blunt the growing trend of resistance and fightback by a wide range of labour and democratic movements. It is apparent, Figueroa said, that the main weapon in Harper’s re-election bid will be to play on people’s fear and insecurities, by hyping up the danger from the “Russian menace”, ISIS and Islamic extremism, praising the military, and attacking the opposition parties for their “weakness” in the face of the “terrorist threat”. A hawkish, cold war-style campaign theme will be drummed out at every opportunity, he predicted.
CPC Central Organizer Johan Boyden reported to the meeting on Communist Party activity in recent months. The Party’s visibility reached its highest levels in years during the recent cross-Canada struggle to defeat Bill C-51, and communists played a major role in building demonstrations and other forms of opposition in a number of areas.
Overall, the Communist Party has registered significant growth since the CPC’s party-building campaign was launched last fall. Boyden and other party leaders visited many areas of the country, and most local clubs have recruited new members. New clubs have also been established, including a Halifax Club which was chartered by a special vote of the Central Committee.
These developments are a good sign for Communist participation in the federal election. The Party will field about 25 candidates in major cities across the country, including a larger proportion of youth than previously. Some campaign teams have already gathered enough signatures to nominate their candidates, such as in Vancouver East and Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca. The party’s platform was the subject of a special online CC meeting earlier this year, and will be finalized over the summer. The Communists will call for defeat of the Harper Conservatives – the most dangerous party of big business – and urge support for candidates who project a people’s alternative to neoliberal, pro-war austerity policies.