On the YCL/CPC's Canadian Nationalism
'Nothing In Common With Marxism'
11 June 2010
As a former supporter of the Young Communist League (YCL), I read with interest your 1 June statement "No war with Korea! For a made-in-Canada foreign policy of peace!" It is quite true that the response from Seoul, Washington and Ottawa to the recent sinking of a South Korean naval vessel was ominous. The circumstances of this event remain somewhat murky, as Eric Margolis, a columnist for the Toronto Sun, observed in a 31 May article:
"North Korea denies guilt in the sinking, a position supported by Russian and Chinese military experts. South Korean and foreign experts concluded a North Korean torpedo caused the sinking, but the finding of the weapon with North Korean markings on it seemed a bit too convenient. Some suspect the South Korean corvette may have hit a floating mine."
The imperialists, whose ultimate goal remains the counterrevolutionary "reunification" of Korea under capitalism, are using the incident to ratchet up economic and military pressure on Pyongyang. We agree with you that this is "part and parcel of the cold war waged by US imperialism, [the] South Korean ruling class, and their allies against the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea] since the armistice which 'ended' the Korean War in 1953."
While revolutionary socialists defend the North Korean deformed workers' state against capitalist restoration and military threats, it is obvious that the survival of the collectivized system that resulted from the expropriation of bourgeois property is endangered by the bizarre, nepotistic bureaucracy headed by Kim Jong Il. The only historically progressive solution is revolutionary reunification-a political revolution in the North to depose the Kim dynasty and establish direct workers' rule and a social revolution in the South to overturn capitalism.
Your suggestion that "Canadian youth and students should be quick to reject and denounce the war mongering stance taken by the Harper Conservative government" is fine as far as it goes, but the call for a "made-in-Canada foreign policy of peace" is overtly bourgeois nationalist. Your complaint about "Harper's slavish parroting of Washington's warmongering" implies that Canada's rulers are somehow less imperialist than their American senior partners. This impression is reinforced by the following proposal:
"What is needed is an independent and made-in-Canada foreign policy based on peace, disarmament, friendship, and sovereignty. It's time to run the war mongering Harper Tories out of office and to fight for a new future for youth which is not based on imperialist war and plunder."
This position derives from the Communist Party's denunciation of:
Marxists flatly reject such vulgar nationalism and assert that Canadian imperialism has all the "sovereignty and independence" it needs. Canada's rulers decided to sit out the Iraq War, opting instead to redouble their commitment to NATO's war in Afghanistan. As we noted in a leaflet distributed at the YCL's refoundation conference in March 2007, revolutionaries unconditionally oppose the presence of Canadian occupation forces in Haiti and Afghanistan. The Canadian ruling class undertakes such missions solely in pursuit of its own imperialist interests.
The idea that throwing "the war mongering Harper Tories out of office" could somehow transform Canadian imperialism into a "progressive" factor in global politics recalls Karl Kautsky's claim that imperialism was merely a policy option, rather than a necessary and inevitable product of developed capitalism. In Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism (1916) Lenin ferociously denounced such notions:
The YCL's nationalist calls for a "made-in-Canada foreign policy" and its advocacy of a "peaceful" role for Canadian imperialism also have "nothing in common with Marxism."
Yours for socialist revolution,
for the International Bolshevik Tendency
Appendix: IBT leaflet published March 2007
Re: Afghanistan--Lenin on Pacifism & Neo-Colonial War
Drive Out the Imperialists!
Canada's imperialist intervention in Haiti and Afghanistan poses a burning question for socialists today. The great Russian revolutionary, Vladimir Lenin, taught that Marxists are not pacifists and that it is always necessary to sharply distinguish between just and unjust wars. Lenin was very clear that whenever imperialist powers (e.g., Canada, U.S., Britain, France, etc.) invade and occupy a dependent capitalist country or semi-colony (like Iraq, Afghanistan or Haiti) Marxists must not only oppose their presence but actively solidarize with all acts of resistance to imperialist occupation:
In 1916 he reiterated:
Lenin considered it:
In Afghanistan today Leninists are for the military defeat of the Canadian and other imperialist forces, despite the fact that opposition to them is led by the reactionary Taliban.
Lenin rejected any talk of opposition to war in general as long as the world capitalist system exists:
In an article written a month later Lenin boldly declared:
Posted: 7 July 2010