Canadian Elections 2010
(Canada is in the midst of federal elections, with the vote to occur on May 2. The Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada (MLPC), the name used by the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) for election purposes, is running 70 candidates. To inform its readers, Voice of Revolution is reprinting several articles from the MLPC, elaborating on their work. The U.S. and Canada share many common problems when it comes to elections, where workers in both countries are blocked from power and marginalized by the election process. The essence of solutions are similar. We need anti-war governments and political empowerment of the people. VOR will be reporting on the election results as well as on the historic May Day march and rally to be held in Ottawa in front of parliament, May 1. Called by United Steelworkers Local 1005, it is urging all to join in Breaking New Ground to Defend the Rights of All, and saying Public Right Yes, Monopoly Right No! We include here also a recent article on the struggle against U.S. Steel. As the struggle in Wisconsin, joint actions at the border and anti-war demonstrations all show, the time is now for U.S. and Canadian workers to step efforts to together to break new ground in defense of the rights of all! For more information and analysis see TML Daily, cpcml.ca)
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In this election, the Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada will field 70 candidates. With the addition of several more youth candidates, this is up from 59 in the 2008 election.
● The MLPC calls on Canadians to participate in this election by taking an active approach to their own empowerment.
The crux of the matter in the election is the contest between people striving for empowerment and the insistence of the establishment parties to use the election to block the people’s movement for democratic renewal.
The electoral process and institutions in this country are called democratic but their very aim deprives the people of the conditions they require to exercise the rights that belong to them by virtue of being human, including a meaningful exercise of the right to elect and be elected. As a result, governments enact laws that benefit the monopolies at the expense of the interests of the people.
“Unless workers, seniors and youth make a concerted effort to keep the establishment parties out of power and put worker politicians who are active in working for democratic renewal into power, the crisis will continue to be sorted out in a manner that favors the rich, not the people,” party leader Anna Di Carlo says. “The Marxist-Leninist Party calls on Canadians to make their voices heard by voting Marxist-Leninist,” she adds.
● The MLPC will continue to organize worker politicians to form an anti-war government.
“Nothing reveals the corruption of the so-called democratic institutions more than the fact that all the parties which make up the cartel party system just voted unanimously to impose a variant of the same democratic system onto the people of Libya with tomahawk missiles,” party leader Anna Di Carlo says.
“Even though the action has the stamp of legality conferred by the UN Security Council, it violates the UN Charter and is illegitimate and immoral. Canadians do not want a pro-war government. We call on them to recognize the need for an anti-war government by voting Marxist-Leninist,” she says.
The Missing Voice of the Working Class
Debates or “bickering,” as Prime Minister Harper likes to say are an important feature of being human. Debates should reflect the all-sidedness of life and its dialectic, the pro and con of economic, political and social affairs. Where would humans be without working out what to do through discussion and debate? No single human, viewpoint or political party can possibly be correct all the time. Making mistakes is part of being human, as is debating problems and finding a way forward out of difficulties.
Science works that way as well. A hypothesis based on the objective conditions is presented and then every effort is made to dispute it. As long as the hypothesis withstands the opposition, it remains valid. When it crumbles before new evidence and opposition a new hypothesis is born that better reflects the objective conditions.
When then is a debate not a debate and science not science? When the debate or science is one-sided; when the debaters are all pro and the opposition is lacking; when the science is all pro without the con and the living dialectic is missing.
No voice of opposition was in the leaders’ debate in English on Tuesday and French the following evening. This meant it was a debate in name only. The basic hypothesis presented by the four leaders was the same. No leader stood up and challenged the dominant thesis presented that the direction of the economy is just fine, it only needs some fine tuning perhaps by [Liberal Party leader] Ignatieff but preferably with a steady hand said Harper; engaging in war abroad and preparing for greater wars are fine except Ignatieff argued that the twenty billion dollar contract for fighter jets be put out to tender; public education, pensions and other social programs are mostly fine with only some doubt whether Harper will stick to his six per cent promise; workers’ rights are not worth mentioning nor is the natural environment or Aboriginal First Nations’ rights.
What kind of debate does not have a clash of views? What kind of debate does not challenge the dominant hypothesis? A phony debate, a debate that is all show with no substance; a debate that is one in name only.
A leaders’ debate at the very least should put on the table the pro and con of every major issue facing the country. Canadians could then continue and develop the debate in their homes, workplaces and educational institutions. When the debate is not on the pro and con of issues and finding a way forward to solve problems, the debate is cut short before it starts, as the leaders’ debate was stopped before it began. The debate stopped the second it became a process of self-aggrandizement, of “I am more fit to rule than you Mr. Harper because you are a terrible man,” but hold on there, “I am more worthy than you three because all of you want to form a coalition government even though my party will win the most seats of any single party.”
The debate stopped before it started because the Workers’ Opposition was not allowed to participate. How can a debate in a country that has two main contending social classes, the working class and owners of capital, proceed without participants from those two contending classes? Anything less is a farce.
The Workers’ Opposition exists objectively and its practical politics must flourish if any problems facing the country are to be resolved in favor of the people. January 29, workers organized a historic demonstration of 10,000 in Hamilton calling for Manufacturing Yes! Nation-wrecking No! Public Right Yes! Monopoly Right No! and for production to resume at U.S. Steel Hamilton Works; March 12, 50,000 workers and their allies took over the streets of downtown Montreal and with a united voice denounced the anti-social agenda, budget and nation-wrecking program of the [Quebec Premier] Charest Liberals; April 1, CAW Local 222 Retirees and supporters rallied in front of Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s campaign office in Oshawa to denounce the latest budget of the Harper government and demand decent pensions for all; April 2, over 1,500 workers from British Columbia (BC), Washington and Oregon held a joint rally at the BC/Washington Peace Arch border crossing to denounce the attack on workers’ rights and public services in Wisconsin, other states and Canada; April 9, 10,000 marched in Toronto in defense of public services and workers’ rights; May First, workers are coming to Parliament Hill to Break New Ground to Defend the Rights of All! That is the active and growing voice of the working class and its Workers’ Opposition, which has its own practical politics that must be front and center in all political events in Canada, including elections and leaders’ debates.
The four leaders invited to debate make no bones about the fact they do not represent the Workers’ Opposition. They have their own differences certainly just as workers have their differences but absent from the debate was a leader representing the working class. A political debate in a country with opposing social classes must reflect those opposing classes and their opposing views and thinking on the direction of the economic, political and social affairs of the country. Without the con, there is no debate. Without the con, there is only the pro congratulating itself, puffing itself up and leaving the people scratching their heads as to why this charade went ahead.
The non-debate exposed the non-election. The Workers’ Opposition and its political parties including the Marxist-Leninist Party are not allowed to participate in the election on a level playing field. Their voice is not equally heard or seen in the mass media. Elections Canada does not organize a process where the pro and con on all issues facing Canadians are hashed out, debated and views of both the working class and owners of capital are fully explained and made available to every single Canadian. Elections Canada is not given the resources or the authority to organize a real election or debate where contending views on fundamental questions of the direction of the economy, war and peace, providing security and rights a guarantee and other fundamental issues are placed before the people who then can cast an informed vote. The practical politics of organizing a real election and bringing into being new arrangements are missing.
When humans are confronted with absence, their basic instinct is to change the situation, to identify the missing ingredient and bring it into being. For the working class the missing ingredient is its own practical politics, its voice of opposition, its con to the pro, its disagreement with the prevailing hypotheses on economic, political and social affairs. The glaring absence of the working class voice in the leaders’ debate is a clarion call for all workers to activate themselves, to unite with fellow workers, seniors and the youth to elaborate their own hypotheses on the problems the people and country face and their solutions and the practical politics necessary to bring a pro-social alternative into being.
Indictment of Democratic Institutions Which Are Supposed to Uphold the Public Good
Within the current political arrangements in Canada where the vast majority of the polity is marginalized from power, it has been the practice of the so-called major political parties to chase the “ethnic vote” during elections. In the post-war period the Liberal Party excelled at this. They manipulated Canada’s requirement for immigrant labor and became the party which was seen to champion immigrant rights. They also made extensive use of Canada’s corrupt political patronage system to “corner” the immigrant vote.
Canadians do not have equal access to public services. On the contrary, Members of Parliament (MPs) access public funds to finance pet projects in their ridings that curry votes. It is also the MPs’ constituency offices that help constituents resolve personal immigration and other problems. Of course, in return the people helped are expected to be of service to the MP. It becomes a --self- serving career move for many who subsequently get nominated to judgeships, the Senate, the National Capital Commission and any number of other positions for services rendered.
It is a very corrupt system that requires renewal. However instead of eliminating the nepotism and corruption the system engenders, once the anti-social offensive was unleashed and the financial oligarchy demanded that more public funds be diverted to them from social programs, the Liberals changed the rules the immigrant communities had come to depend on. For instance, they were no longer able to return to their mother countries in retirement and claim their Canada Pension in the manner they could before. Family reunification was no longer a main category of immigrants. Instead, immigrants with money to invest were favored. After 9/11 some national minorities started being racially profiled in a big way. This particularly offended liberal professionals from those minorities. All of it together broke a public trust between the Liberals and Canadians of immigrant descent and created a vacuum, which the Conservatives have been trying to fill.
Today the Conservatives have become notorious for throwing public money at ridings where they are trying to buy the vote while they withdraw funding from organizations that do not share their ideological positions. This includes national minorities such as people of Arab and other origins, but also women, people with disabilities and mental illness, people in need of shelters, counseling, legal aid, etc.
During elections, the self-serving targeting of minority communities becomes even worse. Canadians from Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean as well as the Eastern European nations are supposed to forget that it is they as workers who face the most brutal exploitation and attacks, precarious working conditions, that they increasingly come to Canada as temporary foreign workers with no guarantee of gaining status. They are supposed to bet on the “winning party” and “vote the right way” in the hope they will get something in return. Like the rest of the Canadian electorate, they are supposed to get behind the same parties of the rich who humiliate them day in day out. This is doubly true for the Conservatives for whom chasing the “ethnic vote” has become almost a science. The Harper government, which has brought in the most reactionary and brutal immigration and refugee anti-people measures, has been working steadily amongst the ranks of what are considered to be the “socially-conservative middle-strata” and “upper echelons of the national minority communities” to split and divide the communities and have them vote for the Conservatives.
The use of the state to target minorities is not acceptable to a modern polity. The Harper government’s destruction of public right is so profound it opposed the collection of detailed census information which is required to plan public services, the construction of housing, schools, hospitals, recreational facilities, etc. in the name of protecting privacy. On the other hand, they misuse and abuse whatever information they can get their hands on for manipulative political marketing purposes. Taking full advantage of the fact that the cartel party system has self-servingly exempted political parties from most of Canada’s privacy laws, the Conservatives have gone so far as to create lists of people from various national minorities, augmented with information about religious affiliation, etc. Individuals who go to MPs’ offices for assistance on matters such as employment insurance benefits or obtaining a passport also find themselves put on the list without giving their consent. This practice of collecting lists of people from the national minority communities for political ends is one of the greatest indictments of the democratic institutions that have outlived their purpose of upholding the public good. No amount of attempts to legitimize chasing ethnic votes as a democratic practice can make what the Conservative Party is up to as anything less than a Hitlerite activity.
Vote Marxist-Leninist or for other anti-war candidates!
Not one member of the outgoing Parliament voted against Canada’s participation in the imperialist war to dismember and seize Libya. This is an affront to the conscience of the country. Canadians and Quebeckers in their majority do not support either the U.S.-led war against Afghanistan or the new one in Libya. How is it that the majority voice in the country was not represented by even one anti-war vote in the House of Commons? Because the four pro-war parties of the cartel system have a stranglehold on the political and electoral system, which blocks mainstream public opinion from participating in political affairs.
The pro-war minority voice was the only one heard in the last Parliament and it is the only one heard in the federal election debates organized by the monopoly controlled media. The mainstream voice of Canadians and Quebecers opposed to imperialist war is missing from the public commons. The minority voice of the parties that stand for war and interference in the internal affairs of sovereign countries is almost the only one in the mass media day after day. The faces of the leaders of the four pro-war cartel parties invade our living rooms day and night. It is impossible to avoid them short of turning off the TV for the duration of the election.
The mainstream has to break through the silence imposed on the anti-war candidates and take down the blockade that seeks to make the people’s anti-war opinion and their representatives irrelevant. The dangers of war and the use of force taking over international affairs and diplomacy have never been greater. The pro-war cartel parties and mass media must be stopped.
Do not allow the minority pro-war voice to dominate our public institutions. Bring the mainstream anti-war voice into the public commons. Support and participate actively in the rallies and other activities of the anti-war partisans who seek to have the mainstream heard. Oppose the use of force and war to settle internal and international conflicts. Oppose the extremist pro-war parties of the political cartel.
Vote for the anti-war mainstream of public opinion! [TOP]
On April 18, USW Local 1005 in its weekly Information Update, published an article entitled, “Spirit of ‘46: Concessions Are Not Solutions! 8.6 Million Reasons Why...” In it, the steelworkers oppose the phony lockout imposed on them since last November by the American multinational U.S. Steel and explain why the concessions being demanded of them make no economic sense.
As well, the title of the item and the accompanying caricature of U.S. Steel CEO John Surma highlight the hypocrisy of the monopoly in forcing the lockout by refusing a stand-pat contract and demanding that retirees’ pensions be deindexed while it then rewards its CEO with an $8.6 million bonus.
The article points out:
“U.S. Steel should give up its phony lock-out of Stelco workers and get back to producing steel, the workers are saying. Economically, U.S. Steel stands to gain more by making and selling steel than sustaining its phony lockout, they say. And this is true.
“When we say that ‘concessions are not solutions’ it is a well-established economic truth. Any general suppression of the workers’ purchasing power intensifies the economic crisis because it has a multiplier effect — it depresses spending generally, wrecking the economy. It even drives down the claims of most monopolies.
“The other issue is that claims of workers in larger enterprises are not that large in relation to the total invested capital. Seizing part of the claim of workers does not make a significant dent in the trend of a falling rate of profit. It is a short-term self serving solution — a criminal scheme to enrich the few and shaft the workers by depriving them of what belongs to them by right — their wages and pensions.
“This is why we say, join us on Parliament Hill on May First to change the direction of the economy! We need an economy that serves the people, public good and general interests of society. An economy that is rationally organized will give the working class first claim on revenue, the government second, the needs of the enterprises third and the claims of owners of capital last.”