Canada: why we need Communist Revolution

The Canadian section of the IMT has announced the relaunch of its newspaper under the banner: Communist Revolution. This bold new publication comes off the back of the explosive growth of the IMT in Canada over the recent period, and lays the foundation for the launch of a new Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) at this year’s Montreal Marxist Winter School in February. We publish below the comrades’ announcement and explanation of the need for a revolutionary communist newspaper in Canada today.

[Originally published at]

We are happy to announce the launch of a new newspaper: Communist Revolution. To many, this may appear startling. Communist revolution, here in Canada!? YES! Believe it or not, Communism is increasingly popular in Canada. It is precisely with the aim of organizing Communists in this country that we launch this new revolutionary communist paper.

Communism in Canada

Most people have a completely mistaken understanding of communism. It is not hard to understand why. From its very beginning, the communist movement has been viciously attacked by the ruling classes of all nations. This was famously mentioned in the preamble to the Communist Manifesto in 1848, in which Marx wrote: “A spectre is haunting Europe—the spectre of communism. All the powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre.”

In Canada, one of the world’s main imperialist nations, generations have been subjected to McCarthyite anti-communist hysteria, which is alive and well. Ontario education minister Stephen Lecce recently launched a new initiative to make sure Ontario students are taught about “the perils of communism” and to “embrace democratic values.” Coming from someone who violated constitutionally protected trade union rights in the fall of 2022, Lecce’s credentials to lecture anyone about “democratic values” are dubious at best.

Due to the ruling class onslaught, people often think communism means the exact opposite of what it actually means. Instead of a society free from oppression and exploitation, many have understood communism to mean a society where there is no freedom of expression or individuality, and the entire population is under the thumb of a totalitarian regime.

At best, the common refrain we hear is that communism “sounds nice but won’t work in practice.” Along with this is an entire industry devoted to publishing books slandering Lenin, the Bolsheviks, the Russian Revolution and any attempt by the working class to transform society. The purpose of this is clear: to convince workers to accept capitalism.

This capitalist ideological wall is now beginning to crack. All over the Western world, from the U.S. to the U.K. to Canada, the number of people who consider communism to be the ideal system has shown a marked increase. This is particularly the case among young people, of which there are over 1,000,000 who consider themselves communists in Canada.

What is going on? What is causing young people to be infected with the communist bug? The explanation lies in the crisis of the capitalist system itself.

The decline of Canadian capitalism

If there were any country that could be held up as a bastion of stability and capitalist success, it would be Canada. However, the glory days of Canadian capitalism are in the distant past. In its place we are experiencing a steady, senile decline.

In the past decade, Canada’s average GDP growth slowed to a near halt at an average of 0.8 per cent—the lowest since the 1930s. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) recently predicted that Canada will fare the worst among its 29 members over the next 40 years.

Wallet Image Towfiqu Barbhuiya UnsplashIn the past decade, Canada’s average GDP growth slowed to a near halt / Image: Towfiqu Barbhuiya, Unsplash

In the past, high growth rates formed the basis for the creation of the welfare state, and a significant portion of the population was able to attain semi-civilized living conditions. Now, this is all rolling in reverse. Nearly half of all Canadians are living paycheque to paycheque. Households are drowning in debt, owing on average 180 per cent of household income. This is set to get much, much worse, as 3,400,000 mortgages are up for renewal in the next 18 months. On average, this will mean mortgage payments increasing by 30-40 per cent. In cities like Toronto and Vancouver, this will mean over $1,000 extra per month.

Whether consciously or not, everybody knows capitalism has failed. In 2012, 37 per cent of people polled believed that their children would have a lower standard of living than them. Now, that number has risen to 75 per cent. The fact that capitalism is unable to bring society forward is no longer an abstract argument, but something that is tangible to millions of people in their daily lives. Resulting from this untenable situation, there is a record amount of anger in society, primarily aimed at the economy, housing, and the federal government.

This is eroding the entire basis of the political stability that the bourgeoisie managed to establish in the past. In the place of “peace, order, and good government,” we will increasingly find wars, disorder, and bad government. We are already seeing the early signs of this. A recent poll expressed a collapse in support for the main institutions of capitalist society, showing that only 40 per cent of Canadians trust the media, 37 per cent trust the Senate, 36 per cent trust the Prime Minister’s Office, and only 28 per cent trust large corporations.

Warning of this situation, the right-wing think tank Fraser Institute explains, “Slow growth since 2008 has spawned populist movements in several countries, leading to Britain’s vote to leave the European Union and the election of Donald Trump as president in the United States.” They go on to warn ominously: “History shows that previous periods of economic stagnation or decline have unleashed social and political forces far worse than protectionism.” Increasingly, the far-sighted representatives of the ruling class are worried. As they should be! Revolution is coming and there is nothing they can do about it.

Reformist ineptitude

One of the reasons for the stability of the capitalist system in Canada has been the strength of reformism. Instead of revolutionary moods, the dominant idea in the movement has been that the system can be reformed, and the sharp edges of capitalism can be sanded down. This belief came to dominate the labour movement and the left due to the fact that reforms like universal healthcare and good union jobs were won in the past.

Now, the entire material basis for reformism has been destroyed. Increasingly, the various reformist “solutions” resemble moving around the deck chairs on the Titanic. This is because capitalism, far from being in a healthy state, is in its deepest crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Reformist sentiment is therefore like a man driving a car around on fumes. As capitalism continues to decline, it not only makes lasting, meaningful reform impossible, but it drags us backwards in every field.

This is why, as communists, we are absolutely confident in our belief that the system cannot be reformed. We instead fight for a revolution of the working class in order to carry out the socialist reconstruction of society. Unlike in the past, the reformists have no leg to stand on. The ideas that come to dominate will increasingly be revolutionary ideas which seek a clean break with the capitalist system.

JS Image OFL Communications Department Wikimedia CommonsOur main criticism of the reformists in Canada is precisely that they do not fight for any meaningful reforms / Image: OFL Communications Department, Wikimedia Commons

Communists are not reformists, but this should not be taken to mean that we are opposed to reforms that benefit the working class—precisely the opposite! In fact, our main criticism of the reformists in Canada is precisely that they do not fight for any meaningful reforms. This has become increasingly obvious to millions of people, and explains why parties like the NDP and Québec solidaire fail to inspire in spite of the general favourable situation for the growth of a left wing.

In Canada, this could not be clearer than with the NDP. While nominally a “socialist” party with ties to the labour movement, the party leadership has proven to be completely sterile and subservient to the government and the capitalist system. In fact, the Liberal government exists by the grace of Jagmeet Singh who supports them while getting next to nothing in return.

This is not due to any personal failings of Jagmeet Singh, but because of his reformist outlook which cannot see beyond the capitalist system. We have seen this play out within provincial NDP governments from British Columbia, to Alberta, to Ontario, to Nova Scotia. The tendency to abandon any meaningful reforms and capitulate to the capitalists is far stronger today than it has ever been. Indeed, after nearly 15 years of crisis at all levels, even the bolder “socialist” reformists such as Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn all capitulated to the liberals at the end of the day and failed to lead the struggle forward. This is why we say that betrayal is inherent in reformism.

In Canada, the immense anger in society is being capitalized upon by the right. With a lack of any real, left-wing, revolutionary channel for the extreme amount of anger welling up in society, the main benefactors are Pierre Poilievre and the Conservative Party of Canada. The latest polls all put the Conservatives around 20 points ahead. While the Liberals are giving signs that they are pivoting towards austerity—(they are calling it “fiscal restraint”)—the election of a Poilievre conservative government would undoubtedly be a violent shift in that direction.

Revolution vs. doom and gloom

The depth and breadth of the crisis of society is clear to anyone with a functioning brain. Even the top strategists of capital at the World Economic Forum published a report which detailed what they call a “polycrisis.” Whether it is the cost of living crisis, the environmental crisis, the war in Ukraine, the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, the refugee crisis, or the social polarization and political instability which touches every single country, capitalist society is tearing itself apart at the seams.

Things are only getting worse. Even the respondents of the WEF survey recognize this, with only nine per cent of respondents stating that they thought the world will return to a state of “renewed stability with a revival of global resilience” in the next ten years.

PSAC Image PSAC FacebookIn response to the crisis, the working class is fighting back and rediscovering its revolutionary traditions / Image: PSAC, Facebook

Faced with this situation, many on the left are depressed, but we believe that this prevalent, depressed mood is only due to the fact that reformism has failed and people do not see a way out. Revolutionaries have no reason to be depressed. If we look below the surface, while we are witnessing the bankruptcy of reformism and the mainstream left, this is not because workers are turning to the right, but because they are losing faith in capitalism and its institutions.

Already, in response to the crisis, the working class is fighting back and rediscovering its revolutionary traditions. 2023 saw a resurgence of the class struggle with the most strike days lost since 2005.

What we are witnessing is a sea change in consciousness which is overwhelmingly progressive, and even revolutionary. For the first time in decades, there is a large constituency of people who consider themselves Communists. It is therefore not an exaggeration to state that we are faced with the most favourable situation for building a real revolutionary left since at least the 1970s. But no one is going to do this for us. We must confront this unprecedented crisis with an optimistic revolutionary communist alternative.

Opposed to the reformist vision which places more faith in the capitalist system than the capitalists do themselves, we believe only revolution can offer us a way out of this dead end. And good news! The decline of capitalism is creating revolutions by the minute. Millions have risen up in revolt around the world in the past few years, from Egypt, to Sri Lanka, to Chile. While advanced capitalist countries like Canada were able to avoid revolution, there is little reason to believe it will be able to avoid this storm forever. Already, many advanced capitalist countries have been shaken by mass movements and revolutionary crises. Britain, France and even our southern neighbours in the U.S. have been rocked with mass movements lately. Make no mistake, revolution is coming to Canada.

Why communism?

It’s not enough to simply declare oneself a revolutionary. It’s not enough to simply denounce the oppressive institutions that dominate our lives. In other words, it’s not enough to be against something; we must be for something. This is why we need communism.

Being a communist means believing that another form of society is possible. It means believing that we don’t have to base ourselves on private profit and private ownership by a small minority. It means believing that if all of the immense wealth that we collectively produce were controlled by the working class instead of the bourgeoisie, the possibilities would be almost endless.

These ideas are the only way to give people hope and organize the oppressed against this system. We are not simply fighting to replace one set of reactionary leaders with another as happened in Egypt, Sudan, Sri Lanka, etc. We are fighting for the working class to become the master of society. This is what communism means.

Demo Image Noah ZinckWe are fighting for the working class to become the master of society / Image: Noah Zinck

Communism is not a magical utopia that Marx simply dreamed up. As Marx and Engels explained, the possibility for communism comes from capitalism itself, both economically and politically.

Economically, capitalism has developed the productive forces to unheard-of heights, creating the material basis for the liberation of the toiling masses from drudgery. In the place of the so-called free market, we have giant monopolies and cartels who own, control and plan the main sectors of the economy. Communists argue that these monopolies should be brought under democratic workers control.

Politically, capitalism has created the proletariat, which is the only class which engages in social production. The modern proletariat, when it moves into action, moves collectively. This is why Marx famously said in the Communist Manifesto that “The development of Modern Industry, therefore, cuts from under its feet the very foundation on which the bourgeoisie produces and appropriates products. What the bourgeoisie therefore produces, above all, are its own grave-diggers.”

A tool to build the party

Capitalism will not go down of its own accord. The hundreds of thousands of communists in Canada must get organized. Already, we have tapped into this sentiment in the latter half of 2023 with the “Are You A Communist” campaign. Thousands of communists contacted us to get involved, the result of which is that we are now close to 700 organized communists!

Building off of this, in addition to publishing Communist Revolution, we are happy to announce the launching of a new Revolutionary Communist Party! This will be officially launched at the Montreal Marxist Winter School on the weekend of February 17-18. We invite everyone to register today to be a part of what will be a truly historic meeting.

Communist Revolution is not to be a simple left-wing opinion piece, but a tool to build this party. It will contain an unapologetic, revolutionary, communist message that comrades will use from coast to coast, in every school, neighbourhood, or workplace to rally the forces of communism. Communist Revolution will be a banner to hold high. We will carry out a campaign for this new revolutionary communist party and use Communist Revolution to do so.

In addition to high-level theoretical material and articles about revolutionary history, Communist Revolution aims to reflect the growing rage at the heart of society. This is why our paper, unlike other publications, will not simply be a paper for workers, but by workers. Whether it’s the latest horrible thing that your boss did, or the dastardly university administration, Communist Revolution will want to hear from you and publish your story. We also want this paper to carry frontline reports from picket lines and demonstrations to give a voice to the workers faced with hostile bourgeois media, and to contain anecdotes from communists organizing all over the country. Being in a party means being able to share lessons from each other’s successes. We therefore encourage all of our members, readers, and supporters to send any and all reports and submissions, in written, audio, or video format, to

Communist Revolution will simultaneously be a tool to provide analysis, advice, and inspiration to carry out the struggle, and a tool to help you find fellow communists in your area and build the party!

That is why we need Communist Revolution!

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