Marxism teaches us to analyze any social phenomena not as something static, but through what Engels called “uninterrupted process” and the contradictions contained within. This is the only way to apply the right methods that will lead to its resolution.
From his famous essay entitled On Contradiction, Mao Zedong insisted on the fact that “there are many contradictions in the process of development of a complex thing and one of them is necessarily the principal contradiction whose existence and development determine or influence the existence and development of other contradictions.” Mao explained therefore that “for instance, in capitalist society the two forces in contradiction, the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, form the principal contradiction. The other contradictions such as those between the remnant feudal class and the bourgeoisie, between the peasant petty bourgeoisie and the bourgeoisie, between the proletariat and the peasant petty bourgeoisie, between the non-monopoly capitalists and the monopoly capitalists, between bourgeois democracy and bourgeois fascism, among the capitalist countries and between imperialism and the colonies, are all determined or influenced by this principal contradiction.”
In Canada, where capitalism has reached its full development, the proletariat and the bourgeoisie form the principal contradiction. Canadian society embodies a whole spate of contradictions. These contradictions will come into play in different ways in given circumstances. Among them are the contradictions within the bourgeoisie between its different sectors, or even between capitalists individually. There are also contradictions between the Canadian bourgeoisie and its foreign rivals—in particular, the US big bourgeoisie. These latter sets of contradictions are inter-imperialist contradictions. The intermediate classes, such as the petty-bourgeoisie, are also in contradiction with the other social classes: sometimes, with the upper class; most times, and under the current circumstances, with the proletariat.
Then, there is the contradiction between the dominant nations and national minorities, which were very important in the history of this country and still continue to play a big part in Canadian political life. Also, some contradictions take place within the proletariat itself: between the different social levels, between workers from different ethnic groups, between men and women, the youth and the elders, etc.
But in the end, all these contradictions are determined by the opposing interests of the bourgeoisie and of the proletariat, which can not be solved in any way but by a revolution. They form two big factions, pitting the revolutionary forces against the reactionary forces. This means that we must uphold the proletarian revolutionary standpoint on all those secondary contradictions.
It is the larger strata of the proletariat—the millions of workers who have nothing to lose but their chains—who constitute the hard core of the revolutionary camp. These strata are notably made up of (not necessarily exclusively):
- The poor and exploited workers who are at the very bottom of the social ladder.
- The workers excluded from the labour market. They comprise the industrial reserve army for the capitalists.
- The new strata of proletarians that come from recent immigration.
- Women who continue to massively integrate the labour market. The capitalists profit from sexism and discrimination and overexploit them.
- The youth that are, more than any other generation, confronted with precarious and underpaid work.
- The Native workers, for who unemployment is the rule and who are subjected to the worst discrimination.
The big trade unions hardly look out for these strata if ever. For the most part, they defend the privileges of the upper sections of the proletariat and the salaried petty-bourgeoisie. They do not represent the interests of the lower and most exploited strata of the proletariat. We, as communists, must devote our attention to these exploited workers. We must target our agitation and our propaganda towards them. They are the ones we must organize and put into motion in order to make revolution and reach communism. The best elements to lead this struggle will be draw from this source—they will be the most determined—in the fight to build a revolutionary communist party.
We refer to this hard core because we are aware that other social strata will and must join the struggle. This even includes some parts of the petty-bourgeoisie. United, they will enfeeble and isolate the enemy. But we must first and foremost organize and reinforce that hard core. They are the ones who shall take the lead in the revolutionary struggle. Otherwise, the higher social classes or strata will take profit of class alliances to their own convenience. In essence they are wishy-washy and fickle. They will not push through with revolution. On the contrary, they will be its gravediggers.